President Bush and President-elect Obama have been warning that today's unemployment report was going to bring bad news, and it did: In December, the nation's jobless rate reached 7.2 percent. That's 11.1 million workers without jobs — and that wasn't all the bad news. Employers are cutting workweeks, with the average now at 33.3 hours, the lowest recorded level since 1964. The total of 2.6 million jobs that were lost in 2008 is the highest number since 1945. And, of course, it's expected to get worse before it gets better (some think unemployment will hit 9 percent before it peaks).
In response, Obama used the news as an opportunity to rally questioners behind his $800 billion economic-stimulus plan, which features an emphasis on federal projects and small-business tax cuts. He called today's report "a stark reminder of how urgently action is needed." Hilda Solis, his future Labor secretary, emphasized the team's focus on green jobs.
Meanwhile, that ratty cubicle you've always hated — seems kind of cozy now, doesn't it?