Some highlights from the Financial Times:
US unemployment hit 8.5 per cent, its highest level since 1983, as the recession continues to savage the labour force.
Non-farm payrolls shed 663,000 jobs, in line with economists’ expectations, bringing the losses since the recession began in December 2007 to 5.1m. Almost two thirds of the decrease happened in the last five months.
The grim employment situation was hitting many not counted in the official unemployment figures.
“Adding in discouraged adults who have left the labor force and part-time workers who would prefer to work full time, the real unemployment rate is closer to 17 per cent,” said Morici.
The number of disenchanted workers, people who wanted work but had not looked for a job in the previous four weeks, hit 2.1m, an increase of 754,000 compared to a year earlier. And the number of people who could find only part-time work increased by 423,000 in March to 9m.
The unemployment rate is fast approaching recent government estimates for the full year. In January, the Federal Open Market Committee predicted that unemployment would hit 8.5 to 8.8 per cent in the fourth quarter, before falling to 8.0 to 8.3 by the end of 2010.
The last paragraph shows how hard it is to predict unemployment rates!