Friday, February 6, 2009

Unemployment Rises to 16-Year High

The jobless rate rose to 7.6% from 7.2% in December, while payrolls fell by 598,000, bringing total job losses since the recession started in December 2007 to 3.6 million.  Half of those losses occurred in the last three months alone.  Worse yet, when marginally attached and involuntary part-time workers are included, the rate of unemployed or underemployed workers actually reached 13.9% last month, up almost five percentage points from a year earlier.

Job losses were spread across most industries, with manufacturing cutting 207,000 jobs, construction axing 111,000, and the service sector cutting 279,000.  The lone bright spots were health care and education, which added 54,000 and the government, which added 6,000.

These numbers are bleak and demoralizing, particularly since they continue to get worse month after month.  There is no way to put a positive spin on it.  Now it's the government's turn to show its hand.  Whatever Mr. Geithner has to say on Monday, it better be good.     

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