Unemployment Hits 8.5%, Highest in 25 Years

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 3, 2009 8:21 AM CDT
People take notes during a seminar at the Access Opportunity Career Fair in Boston Thursday, April 2, 2009, which was held to assist job seekers in a bleak job markert.   (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Another punishing month of job losses in March has pushed unemployment to a 25-year-high of 8.5%, the Labor Department said today. Total job losses for the 16-month recession have now passed 5 million. Nonfarm payrolls fell 663,000 in March, which mostly matched analyst estimates, the Wall Street Journal reports. But January’s losses were revised upward to 741,000, making it the third-worst month ever recorded.

Job losses were spread across all industries, the department said, but they were especially steep in manufacturing, construction, and temporary help services. The unemployment rate, which is determined by surveying households rather than companies, climbed to its highest level since 1983.