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U.S. Economy: Unemployment Rate Increases to 8.1%

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Bob Willis
Bloomberg News
Friday, March 6, 2009

March 6 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. unemployment rate jumped in February to 8.1 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter century, a surge likely to send more Americans into bankruptcy and force further cutbacks in consumer spending.

Employers eliminated 651,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Losses have now exceeded 600,000 for three straight months, the first time that’s happened since the data began in 1939. Revisions to the previous two months lopped off an additional 161,000 positions.

Today’s report indicates the economy may need additional federal measures to help stop what may become the worst recession in the postwar era. The jobless rate has now already reached the level the Obama administration projected as an average for the whole year.


“The magnitude of what is happening now is overwhelming what steps the Obama administration has already taken,” said Chris Rupkey, chief economist at Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd. in New York. “The situation is much worse now than when they began” considering stimulus efforts, he said.

Treasuries were little changed, with 10-year notes yielding 2.81 percent at noon in New York, compared with 2.81 percent late yesterday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index fell 0.5 percent to 678.86.

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This article was posted: Friday, March 6, 2009 at 1:01 pm

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