Highlighting an intensifying downturn, the Labor Department's Friday report indicated an unprecedented acceleration in the US unemployment figures - with nearly 598,000 layoffs in the month of January, the 7.6 percent rise is the highest in the country since 1992.
The reported layoffs in January were worse than the forecast 525,000 layoffs by the Wall Street economists. Even the estimated job losses for the month of December were revised by the Department - from 524,000 to 577,000.
The Department's monthly report on one of the best indicators of economic momentum - non-farm payrolls - indicates that the job-cuts have been the worst since 1974.
There has been a marked 3.6 million decline in payroll employment ever since the recession got rolling in December 2007. More worrying is the fact that nearly one-half of the mentioned decline came in the past three months.
The depressing data only intensifies the pressure on the Obama government to make swift efforts to bolster the economy. Citing the data, the administration has given the Congress a truly significant reason to expedite the debate over the nearly $800 billion economic stimulus plan.
Commenting on the massive declines in employment, Nigel Gault, director of U. S. economic research for Global Insight in Lexington, said: "These are huge, huge declines. Hopefully, it will concentrate some minds in the Senate so they can come to an agreement on a stimulus package."
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