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Friday, April 3, 2009

US jobless rate jumps to 25-year high

Fri, 03 Apr 2009 16:12:31 GMT

Over 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the beginning of recession in 2008



Unemployment rate in the US has reached its highest level in 25 years, after 663,000 jobs were lost in March, official figures show.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the jobless rate spiked to 8.5 percent in March from February's figure of 8.1%.

The figure, however, is less than the 741,000 jobs lost in January -- which now stands as the biggest monthly drop in 59 years.

This means that 5.1 million jobs have now been lost since the beginning of the financial downturn in 2008, over 2 million of them in the past three months alone.

The unemployment rate roughly lined up with economists' forecasts of a loss of 658,000 jobs in March, according to a survey by Briefing.com.

The job losses were felt throughout all areas of the economy including the manufacturing and construction sectors, business and professional services industries as well as the government.

Employers have also cut back the number of working hours, as the average hourly work week fell to 33.2 hours, lowest in record since 1964.

The number of people forced to work part-time, but who would prefer to get a full-time job, also climbed 423,000 to nine million.

The sharp and continuing increase in unemployment suggests that job losses are likely to keep increasing for the rest of this year and into 2010.

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