Jobless Rate Tops 5.1 Million

The recession is making for an extremely high jobless rate in the United States. On Thursday that rate topped 5.1 million. Employers are having to shed positions to survive the economic crisis.
A year ago the jobless rate was at 2.8 million.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the request for unemployment benefits jumped from last week’s high of 631,000 to 667,000 this week.

The four-week average of initial claims is the highest in more than 26 years. That rate is likely to get worse before it gets better. Thursday JPMorgan Chase & co. has said that they will be handing out 12,000 pink slips. Even the NFL is having to slash jobs, 169 jobs have had to be cut. Milliken & Co. out of Spartanburg, South Carolina is letting go of 650 jobs worldwide. Zales, the jewelry company, is closing 115 stores which will put another 245 people on the unemployment lines.

Big-ticket items are also a victim to the global economic crisis both at home and abroad. In January the plunge on those products was at 5.2 percent.

The Associated Press reports:

Companies are “becoming extremely cautious and … shelving their capital spending plans and working with the minimal possible work force,” said Zach Pandl, an economist at Normura Securities International.

New Jersey is the hardest hit with Virginia, Rhode Island, Vermont and South Dakota following in last week’s claims for benefits.

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