The government said nonfarm payrolls fell by 524,000 and job losses in October and November were larger than originally reported. The 2.6 million jobs lost last year were the most since 1945, when the economy dropped 2.75 million jobs.
The national unemployment rate jumped to 7.2% from 6.8% in November and 5% in April. More than 11 million Americans are now unemployed.
Economists had expected a loss of 525,000 jobs last month, with some whispering numbers as high as 700,000. The economy shed an estimated 584,000 jobs in November, up from an original estimate of 533,000.
The last quarter was especially brutal, with 1.53 million jobs lost -- the largest job losses in any quarter since World War II. If you look at the quarter's job losses in percentage terms, it was the seventh-worst since 1945.
The last time the economy saw a 12-month stretch of job losses was the period from June 2001 to May 2002.
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