Four states—California, South Carolina, Michigan, and Rhode Island—registered unemployment rates above 10% in January, and the national rate is expected to hit double digits by year-end. The US Labor Department's report on state unemployment, released today, showed the increasing damage inflicted on workers and companies from a recession now in its second year.
Some economists now predict the US unemployment rate will hit 10% by year-end, and peak at 11% or higher by the middle of 2010. 49 states and the District of Columbia registered unemployment-rate increases. Louisiana was the only state to record a monthly drop. Its unemployment rate fell to 5.1% in January from 5.5% in December.