Unemployment Rate Soars in June

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WASHINGTON -- Unemployment soared to 9.5 percent in June.  That's more than economists expected.

The Labor Department reports unemployment hit a 26-year high. From manufacturing to retail, employers slashed 467,000 jobs.

And all told, 14.7 million Americans were unemployed.

"As long as the unemployment rate is rising, people are going to be fearful that they're going to be part of that statistic," economist Mark Vitner said.

Americans who managed to hold on to their jobs last month saw weekly wages drop to the lowest level in nearly a year.

"Obviously, we are deeply concerned about the employment rate. It's one of the things that I am most focused on when I think about long-term economic policy," President Barack Obama said.

Republicans smell political blood, painting the jobs news as proof the President's $787 billion stimulus package isn't working.

"This is Ellie Mae," said Rep. John Boehner R-OH., referring to a woman. "She hasn't found any stimulus jobs yet, and neither have the American people," he said.

But good economic signs did emerge with the bad.

Thursday's labor report indicates the worst of the layoffs have passed.

The number of people drawing unemployment benefits dropped unexpectedly to 6.7 million and orders placed with U.S. factories rose slightly in May -- the most in 11 months.

Many experts predict the economy will start growing again in the next few months, but unemployment is expected to continue to rise through the beginning of next year.

In the meantime, one sector that's hiring, adding more than 80,000 jobs over the past two months is education and healthcare services.

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