Associated Press 
Thursday, March 26, 2009
The economy shrank at a 6.3 percent pace at the end of 2008, the worst showing in a quarter-century, and probably isn’t doing much better now.
“The Commerce Department on Thursday reported that the economy was sinking a bit faster than the 6.2 percent annualized drop for the October-December quarter estimated a month ago.
“And the pain has persisted in the current quarter. New claims for unemployment benefits last week rose to a seasonally adjusted 652,000 from the previous week’s revised figure of 644,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. The total number of people claiming benefits jumped to 5.56 million, higher than economists’ projections of 5.48 million, and a ninth straight record-high.
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“The figures indicate the labor market remains weak even as some other economic indicators come in better than expected….
“Economists were bracing for an even sharper 6.5 percent annualized decline in the government’s third and final estimate of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.