WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. job losses accelerated in January as 598,000 were slashed, the most in 34 years, and the unemployment rate soared to a 16-year high, pressuring lawmakers to act quickly to counter a deepening recession.
"The economy is just falling into oblivion and it will get worse," said Greg Salvaggio, vice president for trading at Tempus Consulting in Washington. The Senate resumed debate less than two hours after report was issued on a package of measures to spur the economy that could cost $800 billion or more.
Democratic leaders were pushing for a vote later on Friday on stimulus measures. Republican leaders branded the proposals as excessive and bound to drive up U.S. deficits but President Barack Obama wanted a speedy vote to meet the economic crisis head-on.
Last month's job cuts were the most severe since December 1974, while the unemployment rate hit 7.6 percent, its highest level since September 1992. The jobless rate, which stood at a low 4.9 percent a year ago, has jumped a full percentage point over just the last three months.
Ouch. As much as I am ready to graduate and be done with school, I'm kind of glad I still have another year. Hopefully by then we'll be coming out of this awful recession. Hopefully.