Courier Life’s

Brother can you spare me a dime?

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Brooklyn’s unemployment rate is higher than the national average and the future doesn’t look much brighter, according to the state Department of Labor.

According to the DOL’s latest statistics, 11 percent, or about 125,000 Brooklynites, of working age are on the unemployment lines.

Nationally, about 10.2 percent of America’s workers are looking for a job, the highest number in 26 years.

The numbers for Brooklyn could actually be a little worse, according to James Brown, the DOL principal economist in the Division of Research & Statistics, because the state lags several weeks behind national figures meaning the U.S. figures were for October and the state’s latest figures were for September.

“The expectation is over the next few months unemployment will continue to rise, and in any one month, generally unemployment will continue to trend up until after the economy comes up,” said Brown.

Brown did say that there are some month-to-month fluctuations.

But what will probably be gained in the Christmas holiday hiring trend will be given back in January, he said.

The work situation has continued to slide since January of this year when unemployment was a mere 7.7 percent with only about 86,000 residents on the dole.

Since April, when unemployment was 9.2 percent, the numbers kept going up until August when it jumped to 11.1 percent, meaning unemployment actually dipped .1 percent between August and September.

Collectively, Brooklynites’ total wages was about $4.462 billion in the first quarter of 2009, which is the latest of these figures from the state DOL.

This total includes $3.968 billion through the private sector and $494 million through government and civil service jobs.

The largest payroll in Brooklyn was the health care and social assistance sector where total wages were about $1.370 billion.

This is followed by the retail sector ($357 million), finance and insurance ($314 million) and construction ($284 million).

Of the borough’s estimated 1.120 million civilian workers 16 years of age and older, about 868,000 earn private wages or are on salary, 188,000 work for the government, 64,000 are self-employed and 1,200 are unpaid family workers.

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