The U.S. economy lost another 598,000 job in January, a disappointing showing that pushed the nation’s unemployment rate to 7.6 percent, the federal government reported this morning.
For African Americans, the unemployment rate rose to 12.6 percent from 11.9 percent, by far the highest for any racial category. Whites were unemployed at a rate of 6.9 percent, up from 6.6 percent.
Employers have been shedding jobs in every month since January 2008. In total, about 3.6 million jobs have been lost since the recession began in December 2007. Nearly half of those losses occurred in the past three months.
The January losses were spread across nearly all major sectors, from manufacturing to the service industries. The numbers were worst than most economists anticipated and will certainly renew calls from the Obama administration for quick passage of a large economic stimulus package.
The Labor Department also revised its numbers from December, saying that the economy lost 577,000 jobs that month, compared with an initial estimate of 524,000.
“Businesses are panicked and fighting for survival and slashing their payrolls,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Economy.com, told the New York Times. “I think we’re trapped in a very adverse, self-reinforcing cycle. The downturn is intensifying, and likely to intensify further unless policy makers respond aggressively.”
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