American Morning

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April 3rd, 2009
08:55 AM ET

Just in: 2 million jobs lost so far in '09

Unemployment rate spikes to 8.5%, a 25-year high, as 663,000 jobs lost in March.
5.1 million jobs have now been lost since the beginning of 2008.

By Chris Isidore, senior writer

NEW YORK ( - Job losses continued to mount in March and unemployment hit a 25-year high, according to the government's latest reading on the battered labor market Friday.

Employers trimmed 663,000 jobs from their payrolls last month, roughly in line with forecasts of a loss of 658,000 jobs, according to economists surveyed by

For the first three months of the year, 2 million jobs have been lost, and 5.1 million jobs have been lost since the start of 2008.

To put the three-month loss in context, if no more jobs are lost over the next nine months, 2009 would still be the fourth worst year for job losses since the government started tracking the number of workers in 1939.

March's monthly loss is up slightly from the loss of 651,000 jobs in February, although it's less than the number of jobs lost in January. That figure was revised up to a loss of 741,000 jobs - which now stands as the biggest monthly drop in 59 years.

The unemployment rate climbed to 8.5% from 8.1% in February, in line with economists' forecasts. It was the highest since November, 1983.

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Filed under: Economy
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Government of Jamaica Freeze Wages

    PRIME Minister Bruce Golding last night announced a public sector wage freeze "at the levels which obtained on March 31", and in an obvious effort to make the decision more palatable, said that he will be taking a 15 per cent salary cut this year in addition to foregoing the seven per cent increase which would have been due to him effective April 1.

    In addition, members of parliament have been asked to take a 10 per cent cut in their salaries.

    These were just some of the 'tough choices' the Jamaica Labour Party-led Government said it has had to make in grappling to keep the lid on public spending and the ballooning wage bill which last fiscal year stood at $110 billion and accounted for one of the largest areas of government expenditure.

    April 6, 2009 at 6:14 am |
  2. Sherry DAntonio

    It is the most wonderful experience to see that America is finally changing for the sake of all the people in our planet. I can see an incredible horizon of hope and future prosperity for all.


    April 3, 2009 at 9:35 am |
  3. FS

    I wish things would stop getting worse. More bad news is just going to continue to batter anyone's optimism or realism.

    April 3, 2009 at 9:03 am |