Depressing Data

Unemployment Hits 7.6%

Last month the national unemployment rate has reached 7.6 percent--the highest since 1992--as nearly 600,000 positions were cut from payroll, the sharpest monthly decline since December 1974. The jobless rate is having a spiraling effect. "The loss of jobs, at employers ranging from manufacturers like Caterpillar Inc. to retailers such as Macy's Inc., is shattering consumer confidence and crippling spending," Bloomberg reported. "The U.S. economy has now lost a total of 3.57 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007, the biggest employment slump of any economic contraction in the postwar period."