Nation's unemployment climbs to 9.7%

By Rachel DePompa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - The nation's unemployment rate is now at its highest level in 26 years. According to the labor department the rate jumped in August to nine-point-seven percent.

Employers eliminated another 216,000 jobs last month even as the larger American economy showed signs of turning around. Economists say the unemployment figures always lag behind. Which means workers will be the last to benefit from recovery.

Louisa County resident Faith Bland found a job last spring at the last place she expected. She's now a marketing coordinator at King's Dominion. She heard about the job from an ad on the radio.

"Originally I kind of thought that this would be my job in between jobs but now it's turned into something so much more for me," said Faith.

This Saturday the park is looking to hire 400 people. The jobs are for the parks Halloween haunt. They are part time. Last about two months and pay 9 bucks an hour.

"Scare-actors in the mazes in the fright zone. We're really looking for that exciting person who likes to get out there and scare people," said John Pagel, Kings Dominion spokesperson.

Known for attracting thrill seekers, the park is now seeing a new phenomenon. Experienced workers mixed in with the teens who usually seek these jobs.

"We saw a lot of people that we had never seen before come through with backgrounds that you know were really technically over qualified anything that we had," said Pagel.

And although the stock market is finally rising, it's not necessarily a sign the economy is rebounding just yet.

"The stock market doesn't mean that the economy and the fundamentals are all set; just keep your eye on the Federal Reserve System. If they start taking money away from the economy that's a good sign," said David Brat, Randolph-Macon College.

Most forecasters and even white house officials still expect unemployment to reach 10 percent or higher this fall.

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