Unemployment Hits 8.5%, Consumer Spending Levels Out

More bad news on the economy as new figures released on Friday show that the national unemployment rate continues to rise, and stands now at 8.5%. This continued downturn has affected nearly all sectors of the work force, with the exception of health care industry workers. Over 13.2 million people are now considered unemployed, with the number of individuals who have been unemployed six months or longer now comprises 3.2 million people.

These figures come as economic stimulus money begins to trickle in, and help stave off further cuts in jobs across the board. People are continuing to spend money, as evidenced by the stabilization of the retail sector, while many people are taking advantage of low home prices and very low fixed rate mortgages to buy their first homes, or to build investment properties.

However, this continued down turn can potentially get worse, as decreased spending has forced many business to trim their workforces down, which in turn diverts money away from consumers and spending. With lowered wages and earnings, there is less money to be spent on goods and services, the opposite of what the stimulus package is hoping to address.

While the G-20 recently met in London to discuss a united economic effort between some of the worlds most powerful and wealthy nations, it is clear that there is still much to be done in turning the tide against the growing economic downturn.