Jobless Rate Jumps to 8.1%

Updated from 9:10 a.m. EST

The U.S. lost 651,000 workers in February and the unemployment rate jumped to 8.1%, a level not seen since 1983, the Labor Department said Friday.

The number of jobs lost was right in line with analysts' expectations, but the jobless rate was seen at 7.9%.

Along with the data for last month, downward revisions to the prior two months showed even more workers lost their jobs than previously reported. For January, the government now says 655,000 jobs disappeared, compared with the original 598,000 number. In December, 681,000 jobs vanished, vs. 577,000 reported the first time around.

Since the recession started in late 2007, more than 4 million nonfarm payroll positions have been lost.

In just the first week of March, companies have continued to announce job cuts, including Ciena ( CIEN), General Dynamics ( GD), Northrop Grumman ( NOC), Marvell Technology ( MRVL), McClatchy ( MNI) and Borders ( BGP).


How high do you think the unemployment rate will go?

The current 8.1% is as high as it will go.
Above 9%, but under 10%.
Above 10%, but under 12%.
Above 12%.

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