US unemployment jumps to 8.1 percent; 651,000 jobs lost

March 6th, 2009 - 9:11 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, March 6 (DPA) The US shed 651,000 jobs in February, the worst monthly loss since 1949 and raising the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent, the US Labour Department said Friday.
Job losses were “large and widespread” across nearly all sectors amid a deepening recession in the US, the department said. The only exceptions were the health care industry and government.

The unemployment rate now stands at its highest level since 1938 and 4.4 million people have lost their jobs since the recession began in December 2007 - more than half in just the last four months.

The US economy, the world’s largest, shrank 6.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 and many economists are expecting a similar contraction at the start of this year.

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