2008 Job Losses Probably Worst Since 1945
The U.S. economy probably lost more jobs in 2008 than in any year since the end of World War II as firings rippled from homebuilders and automakers to banks and retailers, a government report may show this week, Bloomberg reported.
Payrolls fell 500,000 in December, bringing last year's decline to 2.4 million, the most since 1945, according to the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News ahead of Labor Department figures due Jan. 9. The unemployment rate likely jumped to the highest level since 1993.
The figures will underscore the urgency behind President- elect Barack Obama's plan to pass a stimulus package that will create jobs and mitigate the recession, already the longest in a quarter century. Other reports may show slumps in housing, manufacturing and service industries deepened at the end of last year, setting the stage for more weakness in 2009.
"We're continuing to lose massive amounts of jobs," said Michael Feroli, an economist at JPMorgan Chase & Co. in New York. "The negative momentum carrying over into the first half of 2009 will hold down the economy regardless of policy."
The jobless rate probably climbed to 7 percent in December from 6.7 percent the prior month, according to the survey median.
Manufacturers probably cut 103,000 workers from payrolls, the report may also show. Factories, which make up 12 percent of the economy, shrank in December at the fastest pace in 28 years as new orders for products from cars to furniture reached the lowest level since records began in 1948, the Institute for Supply Management reported last week.