The U.S. unemployment rate surged in January to 7.6%, the highest since 1992, as 598,000 jobes were cut, the Labor Department reported on Feb. 6.
Manufacturing shed 207,000 jobs in January, the largest one-month decline since October 1982.
The number of job losses for the recession-hobbled economy was the worst since 1974, according to the monthly Labor Department.
"This report only established the urgency to pass whatever stimulus package and (bank) rescue package comes next week," said Jon Ogg at 24/7 Wall Street. "This is going to get worse. Much worse. President Obama has already warned in many of his speeches that millions of more jobs will be lost."
The report showed 11.6 million unemployed people in the labor force, which was reduced by over 700,000 people who stopped searching for work.
"If you look at the details it's even weaker than the headlines numbers," said Julia Coronado, economist at Barclays Capital. Coronado said the household survey, used to calculate the unemployment rate, was even worse than the employer survey to calculate job losses. "The household survey is showing a rapid deterioration and much larger job losses, it suggests 1.2 million jobs lost which explain why the unemployment rate jumped so much," she said.
Construction lost 111,000 jobs and the retail sector shed 45,000. The financial sector axed 42,000 over the month and by 388,000 since a peak in December 2006. Health care and government were among the few sectors showing gains. But the service sector overall, which represents about 85% of nonfarm employment, lost 279,000 jobs in the month, with the goods-producing sectors losing 319,000.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009