Unemployment climbs further

UNEMPLOYMENT CLIMBS FURTHER…. It just keeps getting worse.

Another 651,000 jobs were lost in February, adding to the millions of people who have been thrown out of work as the economic downturn deepens.

In a stark measure of the recession’s toll, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on Friday that the national unemployment rate surged to 8.1 percent last month, its highest in 25 years.

The economy has now shed more than 4.4 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007, and economists expect that the losses will continue over the rest of the year and into 2010. The economy lost an upwardly revised 655,000 jobs in January, when the unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent. December job loss was revised to 681,000, from 577,000.

Some economists expect that the nation’s businesses could cut another two million jobs and that unemployment could reach 9 to 10 percent by the time a recovery begins.

The new numbers don’t include the number of people who want to work full time, but now work part time for “economic reasons,” which rose in February by 787,000 to 8.6 million.

We knew all of this was likely to happen when February’s numbers were released, but it doesn’t make it any less painful.