Friday, February 20, 2009

Jobless Rate Rises, Stock Market Dives

The employment market and the stock market both took major hits Thursday, with new jobless claims registering as high as 627,000 and market indicators like the Dow Jones industrial average and the Nasdaq composite index dipping alarmingly low.

AP via

The jobless numbers were worse than expected and new projections from the Federal Reserve show unemployment rising for the rest of this year.

The Labor Department reported Thursday that the number of people receiving regular unemployment benefits rose 170,000 to 4.99 million for the week ending Feb. 7, marking the fourth consecutive week those receiving benefits have been at a record level on data going back to 1967.

The continuing claims figure also was significantly above the year-ago level of 2.77 million and underscored the difficulty people are having in this recession finding another job once they are laid off.

An additional 1.5 million people are receiving benefits under an extended unemployment compensation program approved by Congress last year, bringing the total number of people receiving unemployment benefits to 6.54 million for the week ending Feb. 7.

“The labor market is in disarray,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s It’s possible that job losses for all of February could total between 700,000 and 750,000 based on what weekly claims have done so far this month, he added.

Employers slashed a net total of 598,000 jobs in January, the

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