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Surging U.S. Unemployment Rate Puts Pressure on Obama (Update2)

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Omaha Steve Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-07-09 09:32 PM
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Surging U.S. Unemployment Rate Puts Pressure on Obama (Update2)

By Bob Willis

March 7 (Bloomberg) -- The jump in the U.S. unemployment rate to the highest level in a quarter century last month suggests the recession is deeper than the Obama administration forecasts and additional measures may be needed to restart growth.

The jobless rate rose to 8.1 percent in February as employers reduced payrolls by 651,000, the Labor Department said yesterday in Washington. Losses have now exceeded 600,000 for three straight months, the first time thats happened since collection of the data began in 1939.

Unemployment has already reached the average rate the White House projected for the whole year. The administration needs to keep its focus on repairing the banking system and implementing the stimulus rather than get diverted by other goals such as healthcare changes, said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics LLC in New York.

They should be focused on stabilization of financial firms and stimulus -- and that should not only be Job one, that should be the only job right now, Ryding said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. The question is, is it recession or is it something worse than recession?

U.S. stocks posted the biggest weekly decline in three months after American International Group Inc. reported a $61.7 billion loss and billionaire investor Warren Buffett said the economy is in shambles.

Debt Concerns

The Standard & Poors 500 Stock Index slumped 7 percent this week, bringing the drop since President Barack Obama took office on Jan. 20 to 20 percent. Benchmark 10-year Treasury yields rose to 2.88 percent yesterday from 2.81 percent the previous day amid concern the government will need to sell more debt.

FULL story at link.

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