Unemployment rate rises

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 5.9%, up 0.1% from May, despite the fact 60,000 jobs were created since the beginning of May. The Dept. of Labor said the number of unemployed totals 8.4 million, compared with 6.5 million a year earlier, when the recession was three months old. The number of people who said they were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer rose to 1.67 million, the highest since

The nation's unemployment rate edged up to 5.9%, up 0.1% from May, despite the fact 60,000 jobs were created since the beginning of May.

The Dept. of Labor said the number of unemployed totals 8.4 million, compared with 6.5 million a year earlier, when the recession was three months old. The number of people who said they were unemployed for 27 weeks or longer rose to 1.67 million, the highest since May 1994.

"Employers are very reluctant to add back the workers they let go," David Wyss, chief economist at Standard & Poor's in New York, told The Associated Press. "We're just going to see a very slow recovery in employment.''

Many analysts were predicting the jobless rate would nudge up in June, but also forecasted much stronger job growth with payrolls increasing by 75,000 for the month. Job losses in manufacturing and in the retail rounded gains in other sectors, making for moderate job creation during the month.

The manufacturing sector was hardest hit by the recession and saw hundreds of thousands of jobs evaporate. Factories cut 23,000 jobs in June, on top of 27,000 in May.

The government on Wednesday reported that new claims for unemployment benefits dropped to a 15-month low last week, suggesting that companies are reducing layoffs.

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