Unemployment surged in March to 5.1%, the worst it’s been since September 2005, reports the Wall Street Journal. The country lost 80,000 non-farm jobs last month after dropping 76,000 jobs in both January and February. The third sharp drop fuels fears that the US has slipped into a recession and may prompt another interest rate cut by the Fed.
The payroll decline was the biggest in five years, the Labor Department said. Wall Street had expected a drop of 50,000 in payrolls and 5.0% unemployment rate. The losses would have been higher, but the government added 30,000 jobs last month. The Labor Department said manufacturing cut 48,000 jobs, construction fell 51,000, and business and professional services lost 35,000.