JOBLESS NATION

Unemployment Hits 8.1%

The nation's jobless numbers are even worse than last month. Unemployment nationwide now stands at 8.1 percent, up from 7.6 percent last month. The Labor Department reported this morning that with 651,000 jobs lost in February, unemployment is now at its highest since 1983. "Employers are shrinking their work forces at alarming clip and are turning to other ways to slash costs—including trimming workers' hours, freezing wages or cutting pay—because the recession has eaten into their sales and profits," the Associated Press reported. Who's leading the way down? Construction companies, which cut 104,000 jobs in February; factories, which eliminated 168,000 jobs; and professional/business services that reduced payrolls by 180,000.