Unemployment saw its biggest leap in two decades in May, spiking from 5.0% to 5.5%, as companies scale back their workforces in the face of recession, Bloomberg reports. Analysts had expected a more modest climb, to 5.1%; unemployment hasn’t been this high since October 2004. Payrolls also fell by 49,000.
The US has lost jobs for 5 straight months, as companies try to protect profits against rising commodity costs. “We’ve never seen a run of negative payroll numbers like this without the economy being in recession,” said one economist. The data makes it unlikely that the Fed will raise rates this fall, as many analysts have been predicting.