NOT A GREEN SHOOT…. The unemployment trend had at least been going in the right direction. While the overall unemployment rate was going up, the month-to-month numbers offered at least some signs of encouragement — March’s numbers were better than February’s, April’s numbers were better than March’s, and May’s numbers were better than April’s.

Regrettably, the job market in June didn’t cooperate with the trend.

The pace of job losses quickened in June after falling sharply just a month earlier, casting a shadow over the Obama administration’s attempts to stanch months of stark declines in the labor market.

The American economy shed 467,000 jobs last month, and the unemployment rate rose to 9.5 percent, its highest level in 26 years, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. Job losses were widespread among the construction, manufacturing and business and professional services sectors.

Earlier forecasts expected 365,000 job losses in June, making the actual numbers all the more painful.

What’s more, the 9.5% unemployment rate climbs to 16.5% if we include those who are working part-time but want full-time employment, or those who’ve simply given up. This number, often referred to as the U6 measure, continues to be at its highest point since the government began keeping track in 1994.

There have now been 6.5 million job losses since the start of the recession in December 2007.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.