WASHINGTON (CN) – Job losses slowed somewhat in April with the cutting of 540,000 jobs but total unemployment rose to 8.9 percent, the highest level in a quarter century, according to a report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics Friday. “This is still a really bad number, but job loss did moderate,” Commissioner Keith Hall said.
The loss in April represent an improvement over the last five months, all of which were among the 10 worst months ever recorded for job loss. In January, for example, Americans lost a devastating 741,000 jobs.
Hall appeared before the Join Economic Committee in Congress and argued that the April loss suggests a boost in consumer confidence. Once consumers spend more, Hall added, the economy rises to meet the demand and more jobs result.
Nonetheless, April saw the total loss of American jobs continue to stack up. Unemployment rose to 8.9 percent in March, the highest rate since 1983.
Of the 13.7 million Americans now reported as unemployed, 5.7 million of the losses occurred since the beginning of the recession in December of 2007.
Race and level of education continue to play a significant role in unemployment. Blacks had the highest unemployment at 15 percent, Hispanics faced 11 percent unemployment, Whites had eight percent unemployment, and Asians had the lowest unemployment, 6.6 percent.
In keeping with past trends, higher levels of education are directly linked to higher employment rates. People without a high school diploma have the worst chances, recording a 15 percent unemployment rate. High school diploma holders are unemployed at a 9 percent rate.
Those with some college education earned a 7 percent unemployment rate, and those with college held a 4.4 percent unemployment rate.
Hall cautioned that we will have to wait for next month’s report to determine if the slowing of job loss is a trend.