U.S. Sheds 533,000 Jobs

Manufacturing lost 85,000 jobs

The economy lost a stunning 533,000 jobs in November, sending the unemployment rate to a 15-year high of 6.7%, the Labor Department reported on Dec. 5.

The number of job losses was much higher than the 325,000 expected by private forecasters.

In November, the report showed a loss of 85,000 jobs in manufacturing, bringing the total in the sector to 604,000 over the past 12 months, despite a return of 27,000 aerospace workers from strike.

The services sector, which represents more than 80% of U.S. jobs, lost 370,000 jobs. Employment in the retail sector fell by 91,000, and the leisure and hospitality sector shed 76,000 jobs. The troubled financial sector shed 32,000 jobs in month, bringing the 12-month total losses to 142,000.

"This is almost indescribably terrible," said Ian Shepherdson, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics. "In the past six months the U.S. has lost 1.55 million jobs, almost as many as were lost in the whole 2001 recession, which included 9/11 and the two months after. The pace of job losses is accelerating alarmingly."

The Labor Department noted that since the official onset of recession in December 2007, some 2.7 million jobs have been lost, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2008

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