The job market continued to falter in February, according to the latest report from the Department of Labor.
The unemployment rate rose to 8.1 percent last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics
announced, with the number of unemployed people growing to 12.5 million.
Unemployment is at its highest rate since December 1983, Keith Hall, the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics told
Congress Friday morning.
Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed persons has increased by about 5.0 million, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points.
The economy shed 651,000 jobs in February, according to the Labor Department, with jobs cuts coming from all industry sectors.
Since December 2007, when the current recession began, labor statistics show that 4.4 million jobs have been lost. More than half of those cuts--2.6 million--have come in the last four months.
UPDATE: The White House released a statement from Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis in response to the unemployment report.
"This data does not just represent abstract statistics. Rather it illustrates the struggles of millions of Americans who do not know how they will raise their families, or pay their bills and mortgages. They are the central focus of this Administration’s economic policies, and why we are moving swiftly and aggressively to jumpstart job creation and grow our economy," Solis said.
"As part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, President Obama and I have already moved to increase unemployment insurance benefits and to extend the duration of unemployment insurance. In addition, I am announcing today that the Labor Department is making available more than 3 and a half billion dollars to states for education, training and reemployment services."