The Verge of a Recession: Employers Slash Jobs

Employers Cut 80,000 Jobs in March, Unemployment Rate at 5.1 Percent

U.S. employers cut 80,000 jobs in March, the largest job loss in the last five years, according to a report from the Labor Department on Friday. The largest blows went to the manufacturing and construction industries.

Since the start of the year, the Labor Department estimates that 232,000 jobs have been cut in the American economy. The unemployment rate has risen from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent, a larger increase than economists expected. The number of unemployed people reached 7.8 million in March.

After this report was released, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, told Congress that a “recession is possible” in the first half of the year.

Democratic presidential hopefuls have responded to these statistics urging government intervention in a slumping economy, while condemning the Bush administration’s economic policies.

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., called these statistics “the latest evidence that Washington needs fundamental change because it has failed the American people.”

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., further condemned the leadership of the Bush administration. “After a year of denial and half-measures it is time for this administration to put ideology aside and get serious about stemming this crisis,” Clinton said in a statement.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is searching for a growth agenda that does name the administration as an “obstacle to economic growth.”

“In addition to rapid and targeted help for those families hurt by the mortgage crisis, it is essential to reduce the burdens on businesses and workers by lowering taxes, streamlining regulation, tackling health care costs, opening markets to American goods and helping those workers in need,” he said.

This decrease in employment is a stark contrast to the economy in September when the Labor Department said the United States had a gain of 110,000 workers.

Compiled by Erin Evans, Black College View