Unemployment Hits 9.7 Percent

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The line at a job fair at the Marriott in TImes Square in February. Photo: Getty Images

Reaching a 26-year high, the U.S. unemployment rate leaped to 9.7 percent in August. That's a jump from the previous month, when the rate actually sank a little bit to 9.4 percent. The recent leap represents 216,000 lost non-farm jobs — the twentieth consecutive monthly decline (the somewhat deceiving dip in unemployment in July was a result of a drop in the number of people actually looking for work). Since the recession began in December of 2007, payrolls have dropped by 6.9 million, and unemployment has increased by 7.4 million. But there's a silver lining! The 219,000 decline in payrolls was the smallest such drop in the past year. Okay, that's sort of like the "silver lining" on a blanket you'd get at Kohl's, but still!

Unemployment rate jumps to 26-year high of 9.7% [MarketWatch]