Recession-battered employers eliminated 598,000 jobs in January, the most since the end of 1974, and catapulted the unemployment rate to 7.6 percent. The grim figures were further proof that the nation's job climate is deteriorating at an alarming clip with no end in sight.
The Labor Department's report, released Friday, showed the terrible toll the drawn-out recession is having on workers and companies. It also puts even more pressure on President Barack Obama to revive the economy.
The latest net total of job losses was far worse than the 524,000 that economists expected. Job reductions in November and December also were deeper than previously reported.
With cost-cutting employers in no mood to hire, the unemployment rate bolted to 7.6 percent in January, the highest since September 1992. The increase in the jobless rate from 7.2 percent in December also was worse than the 7.5 percent rate economists expected.
All told, the economy has lost a staggering 3.6 million jobs since the start of the recession in December 2007. About one-half of this decline occurred in the past three months.
The report puts even more pressure on lawmakers to revive the economy. The Senate's Democratic leaders will try again today to garner enough support to pass the gigantic economic stimulus package President Obama has requested.
The price tag on the Senate's version of that plan has swelled to $937 billion. But a group of moderate Democrats and Republicans have been working to pare that figure.
Meanwhile, President Obama was pushing the House for passage of the stimulus. The president met with Democratic House members at a retreat in Williamsburg, Va. (NPR)
Brandeis President: I Acted Too Hastily » Brandeis University President Jehuda Reinharz is apologizing for the way he handled the announcement that the school would close its Rose Art Museum and sell its artwork.
Reinhartz says he "screwed up" and should have made it more clear that only a few of the school's more than 7,000 works will be sold, and only "if and when it is necessary."
Reinhartz joined WBUR this morning to discuss the situation.
The Not-For-Profit Panacea » As the business model for newspapers cracks apart, there are those who are lamenting and those who are inventing. Some journalists now say the industry should forget about making a profit and find new ways to support the news.
New Safety Law May Crimp Market For Used Toys » A nationwide law goes into effect next week that threatens to derail the used clothing and toy markets for children. The act requires kids' products to be free of lead. (NPR)