U.S. lost more than half a million jobs last month
by G. Scott Thomas
Business First Magizine
The nation lost more than half a million jobs last month, while the unemployment rate soared to 7.2 percent, it was announced Friday morning.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported a loss of 524,000 jobs between November and December. That continued a four-month losing streak, which saw 1.93 million jobs vanish between August and December.
The national unemployment rate crossed the 7 percent mark in December, rising from 6.8 percent in November to 7.2 percent.
The biggest decline occurred in the manufacturing sector, which lost 149,000 jobs in December alone. A total of 791,000 manufacturing jobs disappeared in the 12 months of 2008, an average loss of 66,000 per month.
The nation also lost 101,000 construction jobs in December -- and 632,000 in the entire year.
Employment in the retail trade sector declined on a seasonally adjusted basis, despite the holiday season. There were 66,600 fewer retail trade jobs in December than in the month before. Total retail losses for the year totaled 522,300 jobs.
Good news was hard to come by in Friday’s report. The only sectors to register increases between November and December were health care, which picked up 31,600 jobs nationally; educational services, up 7,000 jobs; and government, which added a total of 7,000 jobs at the federal, state and local levels.
The unemployment rate reached 7.2 percent in December, the first time it had crossed 7 percent since 1993.
Unemployment stood at 4.9 percent one year ago.
See: US loses another 524000 jobs