US unemployment rate reaches 8.5%

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Friday, April 3, 2009

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the US economy lost 663,000 jobs in March, bringing the unemployment rate up to 8.5%, an increase from last month's jobless rate of 8.1%. The jobless rate is the highest it has been since 1983.

Since the start of the recession, 5.1 million jobs have been lost. 13.5 million people are currently unemployed. 3.3 million people have lost their jobs in the last five months.

"The hemorrhaging of jobs has been so extreme," the deputy director at the National Employment Law Project, Andrew Stettner, said. "Even if the economy picks up or the contraction slows, there's so much slack in the job market, it's going to take a tremendous amount of time for it to recover."

The Federal Reserve has stated that it predicts the jobless rate to go up to 8.8%, although many economists forecast that it could go above ten percent and only start coming back down when the broader economy starts to recover.

The government said that 16% of all the residents of the US are now in search of work, working part time because they are unable to find a full-time job, or do not have a job and are not searching for one.

"We're closing in on 25 million people that are underemployed in one way or another. It highlights the incredible breadth of the downturn," said the founder and chief economist of Moody's, Mark Zandi.