US chems lose jobs in November as unemployment surges to 9.8%

03 December 2010 16:14  [Source: ICIS news]

US jobs protesterHOUSTON (ICIS)--The US chemical sector shed jobs in November as the overall unemployment rate rose to an “unacceptably high” 9.8%, officials said on Friday.

Employment in chemical manufacturing dropped to a seasonally-adjusted 773,400 positions in November, down 0.2% from 775,300 in October, according to US Labor Department figures.

Meanwhile, jobs in the plastics and rubber products sector rose 0.1% to a seasonally-adjusted 633,700, up from 633,100 employed in October.

Overall, US non-farm employment increased by 39,000 in November, well under economists' expectations of about 130,000 positions, according to news reports.

The 9.8% jobless rate was up from 9.6% in October and the highest level since April.

“An unemployment rate of 9.8% is unacceptably high, and we need to achieve robust employment growth in order to recover from the deep job losses that began over two years ago,” said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of President Barack Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers.

US recession unemployment peaked at 10.1% in October 2009.

Employment figures were dragged down by the retail trade and manufacturing industries, which lost 28,000 and 13,000 jobs, respectively, in November.

On the other hand, November figures were boosted by higher jobs within temporary help services and health care, which added 40,000 and 19,000 positions, respectively.

Goolsbee characterised the underwhelming results as a “bump in the road”, saying that the figures underscored the importance of the US government extending middle class tax cuts and unemployment insurance.

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By: Ben DuBose
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