WASHINGTON – Skittish employers slashed 533,000 jobs in November, the most in 34 years, catapulting the unemployment rate to 6.7 percent, dramatic proof the country is careening deeper into recession.
The new figures, released by the Labor Department Friday, showed the crucial employment market deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid clip, and handed Americans some more grim news right before the holidays. The net loss of more than a half-million jobs was far worse than analysts expected.
As companies throttled back hiring, the unemployment rate bolted from 6.5 percent in October to 6.7 percent last month, a 15-year high.
“These numbers are shocking,” said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economics Advisors. “Companies are sharply reacting to the economy’s problems and slashing costs. They are not trying to ride it out.”
Both the number of unemployed persons (10.3 million) and the unemploy-
ment rate (6.7 percent) continued to increase in November. Since the start
of the recession in December 2007, as recently announced by the National
Bureau of Economic Research, the number of unemployed persons increased by
2.7 million, and the unemployment rate rose by 1.7 percentage points.