US unemployment rises to 7.2 percent

January 10th, 2009 - 2:26 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Jan 10 (DPA) The US unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent in December 2008, from 6.8 percent in November, with “large and widespread” job losses “across most major industry sectors”, officials said Friday.The unravelling financial crisis has put an added 632,000 people out of work, raising the total number of US unemployed to 11.1 million.

Since the recession started in December 2007, a total number of 3.6 million jobs have been lost - more than half of them in the last four months of 2008. The unemployment rate has risen by 2.3 percentage points over that time span, the Bureau of Labour Statistics said.

Hardest hit were teenagers, with a 20.8 percent unemployment rate, followed by blacks, 11.9 percent, and Hispanics, 9.2 percent. The unemployment rate for whites was 7.2 percent for adult men; 6.6 percent for whites; 5.9 percent for adult women; and 5.1 percent for Asians.

The number of long-term unemployed - those out of work for 27 weeks or more - doubled from December 2007 to 2.6 million people in December 2008.

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