Unemployment Rate Jumps to 8.1%

6 Mar

Employers axed 651,000 jobs in February, pushing the unemployment rate to its highest in 25 years, as companies buckled under the strain of a recession that is showing no signs of ending, according to a government report.

While that figure was near economists’ expectations for a 648,000 drop in non-farm payrolls, January and December job losses were revised sharply higher.

The Labor Department on Friday said the unemployment rate surged to 8.1% in February, the highest level since December 1983. That was above market forecasts for a rise to 7.9 from January’s 7.6%.

Cost-cutting employers are resorting to even bigger layoffs as they scramble to survive the recession, feeding insecurities among those who still have jobs and those who desperately want them.

"The pace of layoffs is fast and furious," said Stuart Hoffman, chief economist at PNC Financial Services Group, before the report. "We’re still in the teeth of this recession and the bite has not let up at all."

 

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