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Unemployment Continues to Climb
The nation's unemployment rate leaped from 6.8% in November to 7.2% in December, the highest level in 16 years, as anxious employers slashed 524,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported. What's worse, unemployment is expected to climb further in the months ahead as mass layoffs continue. For all of 2008, the economy lost a total of 2.6 million jobs. That was the most since 1945, when nearly 2.8 million jobs were lost. Job losses were widespread in December. Construction companies slashed 101,000, and factories let go of 149,000 jobs. Professional and business services got rid of 113,000 jobs. Retailers eliminated nearly 67,000 positions, and leisure and hospitality cut employment by 22,000. That offset gains in education, health care and the government. The unemployment report underscored the toll the recession is having on workers and companies, and is a sobering reminder of the hard task President-elect Barack Obama faces in turning things around.
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Date Last Updated: 01/15/2009