Unemployment Rate Reaches 8.1%


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 government also reported that a broader measure of unemployment reached 14.8%, up from 13.9% in January. That number includes people who've given up looking for jobs and those who work part-time but want to work full-time.

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, versus the 577,000 reported the first time around.

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

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

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