Unemployment Up to 8.1 Percent in February

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Last month, 651,000 jobs were lost in the United States, bringing the unemployment rate up to 8.1 percent — the highest it has been since 1983. According to a Labor Department report, the economy has dumped 4.4 million jobs since this whole slide started in December of 2007, and some economists anticipate we could lose 2 million more before the trend starts turning around — threatening to bring the unemployment rate up to 9 or 10 percent. February was the fourth month that saw more than 500,000 jobs lost. If you want an upbeat take on this news, read Joanna Molloy's column in the Daily News today about yesterday's job fair at the Marriott Marquee. Turns out, everyone there was still optimistic! (Man, those optimism ads with the kid playing baseball really stuck, huh?) For a less cheery take, listen to the guy the Times talked to who lost his job at a framing shop in February. "You spend all this time doing this, and now what?" Mark Ortiz asked. "It's almost like I've gotten divorced and I've got to find a new wife."

651,000 Jobs Reported Lost in February [NYT]