Unemployment Up to 7.6 Percent, 598K Jobs Lost

The Bureau of Labor Statistics just released released job numbers for January, and the new is not good. Non-farm employment by 598,000 jobs last month, the biggest one-month drop since 1974, increasing the official unemployment rate from 7.2 to 7.6 percent. (That rate excludes longtime discouraged workers, so it is generally thought to underestimate the true jobless number.)

Since the recession officially began, the BLS says, America has lost 3.6 million payroll jobs. Unemployment claims rose by 35,000 to 626,000, which Bloomberg News says is the highest such jump since the Reagan recession in 1982; the Wall Street Journal reports that seven states have already run out of money to pay unemployment benefits, and 11 other states expect to be in the same boat by year's end.

"It's astonishing how quickly American businesses are laying people off," a labor expert told Bloomberg. (Update: And, as our colleague Ward Harkavy points out, New York City's own unemployment is set to reach 10.5 percent -- which we haven't seen since the city went bankrupt.)


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