Friday, February 06, 2009

Unemployment rises to 7.6 percent in worst monthly job loss since 1974

Graph showing worst monthly job loss since 1974. From MSNBC News.

There is not much to say about this MSNBC story that I haven't really said on unemployment. From MSNBC News:

Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent.

The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.

The Labor Department's report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll the drawn-out recession is having on workers and companies. It also puts even more pressure on President Barack Obama to revive the economy.

"These numbers, and the very real suffering of American workers they represent, reinforce the need for bold fiscal action," said Christina Romer, chief of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. "If we fail to act, we are likely to lose millions more jobs and the unemployment rate could reach double digits."

The latest net total of job losses was far worse than the 524,000 that economists expected. Job reductions in November and December also were deeper than previously reported.

With cost-cutting employers in no mood to hire, the unemployment rate bolted to 7.6 percent in January, the highest since September 1992. The increase in the jobless rate from 7.2 percent in December also was worse than the 7.5 percent rate economists expected.

All told, the economy has lost a staggering 3.6 million jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007. About one-half of this decline occurred in the past three months.

"Companies are in survival mode and are really cutting to the bone," said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics. "They are cutting and cutting hard now out of fear of an uncertain future."

In one sense, it is probably good that the timing of this terrible job loss report came just as the Senate is taking a second day to debate the Obama administration's economic stimulus plan. The Republicans have been opposed to the Obama stimulus plan--my guess is that the Republicans are playing election politics, by opposing the stimulus plan, so that President Obama would fail, and the GOP can win congressional seats in the 2010 midterm elections. This jobs report should provide some pressure to at least the moderate Republicans in putting aside their ideological differences and do what is right for the country--the right wing wackos are a lost hope. This may not be the best economic stimulus bill, but at least it is something to attempt to stop the economic slide of this country.

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