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Job Losses for 2008 Worst in 60+ Years; Manufacturing Took Major Hit

Employment numbers from the U.S. Department of Labor for the month of December closed the book on the worst year for job losses since 1945. Approximately 2.6 million people lost their jobs in 2008, with 524,000 of those jobs lost in December alone. The national unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent. For the year, job losses were particularly severe in the manufacturing sector, which lost 791,000 jobs; in December, manufacturing lost 149,000 jobs, with the worst numbers in the fabricated metals (28,000 jobs lost) and motor vehicles and parts (21,000 lost) industries. The only private-sector industry that added jobs was healthcare, with 32,000 added in December and 372,000 for 2008. "This is unprecedented," says Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's, quoted in the International Herald Tribune. "There is really no refuge in this job market. There's no safe place."

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