Don't get too worked up over a slight dip in the jobless rate, to 9.4 percent. NYT's Floyd Norris points out that it's statistically unimportant - and besides, all it shows is that fewer people are still looking for work. (L.A. County had a slight drop in June unemployment and that certainly doesn't indicate much.)
The number of unemployed people who have been unemployed for 14 weeks or less was 6.79 million in July, the lowest figure for that group since December. But the number unemployed for 15 weeks or more was 7.88 million, up 74 percent since December and the highest figure ever. For the first time ever -- or at least since the government started counting the figures in 1948 -- more than a third of the unemployed have been out of work for at least 27 weeks. The average unemployed person had been jobless for less than 20 weeks at the end of last year. Now the figure is over 25 weeks.