The unemployment rate for the United States jumped up to 8.1 percent in February, the highest since late 1983, as cost-cutting employers slashed 651,000 jobs. Both figures were worse than analysts expected. The net loss of 651,000 jobs in February came after even deeper payroll reductions in the prior two months, according to revised figures. The economy lost 681,000 jobs in December and another 655,000 in January.
Employers are shrinking their work forces at alarming clip and are turning to other ways to slash costs — including trimming workers' hours, freezing wages or cutting pay — because the recession has eaten into their sales and profits.
One of the major differences from other Recessions has been that the job losses are across the board. Construction companies eliminated 104,000 jobs. Factories axed 168,000. Retailers cut nearly 40,000. Professional and business services got rid of 180,000, with 78,000 jobs lost at temporary-help agencies. Financial companies reduced payrolls by 44,000. Leisure and hospitality firms chopped 33,000 positions.
This recession (Which may actually be a depression) has fallen into a vicious cycle in which all the economy's negative problems feed on each other, worsening the downward spiral.