Recession Watch

Unemployment Hits 26-Year High

The economy continues to send mixed signals. Data revealed by the Labor Department Friday morning show the unemployment rate rose more than expected to 9.7 percent in August, the highest rate since June of 1983. The so-called underemployment rate, the figure including workers who either took part-time jobs or stopped looking for jobs, rose to 16.8 percent, the highest level since the department began recording this figure in 1994. However, the number of job losses slowed—employers eliminated 216,000 jobs in August, compared with 276,000 in July. Things aren't likely to rebound anytime soon, though. The Federal Reserve expects the unemployment rate to pass 10 percent by the end of this year, and analysts expect that businesses won't want to hire until they're sure the economy is on an upward swing.