US lost 663,000 jobs in March, unemployment 8.5 percent

April 3rd, 2009 - 8:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Barack Obama Washington, April 3 (DPA) The US shed 663,000 jobs in March, lifting the unemployment rate to 8.5 percent, its highest level in 25 years as the country battles one of its deepest and longest recessions in a generation, the US Labour Department said Friday.
More than five million jobs have now been cut since a recession began in the US in December 2007, the sharpest drop since the Second World War. Nearly two-thirds of those jobs were lost in just the last five months.

Data on the number of jobs lost in January were also sharply revised upward, from 651,000 to 741,000. However, the figures remained steady at 651,000 for February.

The losses have been “large and widespread” across all industries, the department said. Health care remained one of the few growing sectors in the US.

President Barack Obama has made restoring job growth his top priority in the first two months of his administration. An unprecedented $787-billion stimulus package approved earlier this year was designed to save or create 3.5 million jobs.

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