Patrice Hill reported this in the Washington Times today: (Click here to read her article.)
“Unemployment soared last month to a 14-year high, the Labor Department reported Friday, prompting the head of the panel that officially dates U.S. economic cycles to say there is no doubt that a recession is under way.
Businesses slashed nearly a quarter-million jobs, pushing the unemployment rate to 6.5 percent, the department said. The losses were deep and widespread across nearly every industry from retailing and office work to construction and manufacturing.
Only the health care, education, mining and government sectors avoided the job slaughter and posted modest employment gains.
“The evidence [of a recession] is more than compelling,” Robert Hall, the Stanford University economist who heads the National Bureau of Economic Research’s business-cycle dating committee, told Bloomberg News. “It’s conclusive, in my personal opinion.”
The full committee of eight economists has not officially declared that America is in a recession, however.
The 240,000 jobs eliminated last month came on top of a revised 284,000 job cut in September — far more than originally reported. Together, the figures show how the economy virtually fell off a cliff at the onset of a severe credit crisis that cut off financing for consumers and businesses alike while it caused the failure of a major Wall Street firm and banks in quick succession.
Manufacturers laid off a stunning 90,000 workers, while construction employment fell by another 49,000 and retailers trimmed staff by 38,000.
“We’re in the teeth of recession,” said John Silvia, chief economist at Wachovia Securities. He said the job losses will weigh heavily on consumers, who already have pulled back dramatically from spending in the past two months. And they point to a big drop in the economy in the final quarter of the year.
Harm Bandholz, economist at Unicredit Markets, noted that the job losses in the past two months amount to more than a half-million and bring the job losses for the year so far to more than 1 million – clearly pointing to a profound recession.”
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