Saturday, 7 March 2009

US economy loses 651,000 jobs in February

February saw another massive hit to US employment. Bloomberg reports:

The U.S. unemployment rate jumped in February to 8.1 percent, the highest level in more than a quarter century, a surge likely to send more Americans into bankruptcy and force further cutbacks in consumer spending.

Employers eliminated 651,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said today in Washington. Losses have now exceeded 600,000 for three straight months, the first time that’s happened since the data began in 1939. Revisions to the previous two months lopped off an additional 161,000 positions.

The loss in February, however, was in line with expectations.

Payrolls were forecast to drop by 650,000, according to the median of 80 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News. The jobless rate was projected to jump to 7.9 percent. Forecasts ranged from 7.8 percent to 8.1 percent.

Indeed, stocks finished up for the day while Treasuries fell.

Treasuries fell, with 10-year notes yielding 2.87 percent at 4:16 p.m. in New York, compared with 2.81 percent late yesterday. The Standard & Poor’s 500 Stock Index reversed losses to end the day up 0.1 percent at 683.38.

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