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Government Data Shows Record Job Losses

Posted on 05 Feb 2009

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According to government data on Thursday, the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits hit a 26-year high last week. Additionally, the number of people staying on the benefit rolls hit a record high in the week ended January 24, showing the weak labor market has yet to hit bottom.

"Ugly," said John Ryding, chief economist at RDQ Economics in New York. "This report points to pick-up in the rate of deterioration in job losses at the end of the month. That's to be contrasted to less bad news elsewhere."

The data comes ahead of Friday's closely watched employment report, which is expected to show job losses accelerated in January. An independent report released on Wednesday showed the U.S. private sector purged 522,000 jobs last month.

The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment insurance benefits rose 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 626,000 in the week ended January 31, the highest since the week ending October 30, 1982.