Unemployment Hits 9.5 Percent

Numbers may not lie, but they are sending mixed economic signals. The good news first: Bloomberg reports that jobless claims for the last week in June fell by 16,000 to 614,000, according to the Labor Department. The people collecting unemployment insurance also decreased by 53,000 to 6.7 million over the same period. But on a less happy note, a separate report from Labor showed that unemployment inched from 9.4 to 9.5 percent in June, the highest rate since 1983. The economy also lost 467,000 jobs, more than expected, in June. The upshot, according to Bloomberg, is that "companies may be approaching the staffing levels they are seeking to ride out the recession." Since December 2007, when the recession began, 6.5 million jobs have been slashed—the most during any downturn since World War II.