Unemployment jumps to 8.1 percent

Ian Swanson has the story:
Unemployment jumped to 8.1 percent in February as the economy shed another 651,000 jobs, according to statistics released Friday morning.

Job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Total unemployment stands at 12.5 million people, with another 851,000 joining the ranks of the jobless last month. The unemployment rate increased from 7.6 to 8.1 percent.

In the last four months, payroll employment has declined by 2.6 million.
Many Americans are also losing their jobs for longer periods of time, according to Keith Hall, commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

In February, 2.9 million people had been unemployed for 27 weeks or longer, up from 1.3 million at the start of the recession, Hall said.

Jobs in manufacturing and construction were hit hard. Manufacturing employment declined by 168,000 in February and has dropped by 1.3 million since the start of the recession. Construction employment fell by 104,000 in February and has lost 904,000 jobs since the recession began. About half of the decline in the construction industry took place in the last four months.

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