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U.S. unemployment for February 2009

The unemployment rate in the entire U.S. rose from 7.6% to 8.1% as nofarm payroll emploment continued to fall sharply (-651,000) in February, as reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of unemployed people increased by 851,000 people to 12.5 million in February. Payroll employment has decreased by 2.6 million in the past 4 months, and February job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors.

The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased by 270,000 to 2.9 million in February. About 2.1 million people (not seasonally adjusted) were “marginally attached” to the workforce in February, up 466,000 from a year ago. These people were not counted as unemployed because they had not looked for work in the 4 weeks before the survey. This 2.1 million included 731,000 discouraged workers (up 335,000 from a year ago), who believe that no jobs are available for them.

Involuntary part-time workers (who could not find full-time jobs) rose by 787,000 in February, reaching 8.6 million.

Over the past 12 months, the number of unemployed people has increased by about 5 million people, and the unemployment rate has risen by 3.3 percentage points.

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