Unexpectedly, the national unemployment rate has dropped to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent the previous month. The previous rate was the highest in 26 years, yet even President Obama assumed that it would only trend higher, likely capping at 10 percent. Additionally, claims for unemployment insurance — which had leveled off during the summer — actually dropped last week to 550,000 from 588,000 the week prior. While these are signs that the recession may be easing, 247,000 men and women still lost their jobs last month. [NYT, Bloomberg]
A job fair in Brooklyn in May.