|"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast"
|"The liberal soul shall be made fat, and he that watereth, shall be watered also himself."
-- Proverbs 11:25
Businesses slashed jobs and the nation's unemployment rate hit a five-year high in August, the government reported yesterday, dashing hopes that the economy might stabilize in the second half of the year and showing that trouble has spread far beyond the housing and financial sectors.
The unemployment rate rose to 6.1 percent, from 5.7 percent in July, according to the data released yesterday, making for the most severe four-month rise in joblessness since 1981. More people looked for second jobs to help make ends meet, with little apparent success.
Meanwhile the nation's employers cut 84,000 net jobs, the eighth consecutive month of declines. They have shed a combined 600,000 positions from their payrolls in 2008. Of major categories of employers, only the health-care industry and government added jobs in August.
"These are really ugly numbers," said Scott Anderson, a senior economist at Wells Fargo. "There's been optimism out there that we might be nearing an endpoint, that housing is stabilizing, that the stock market may have turned a corner. But this reinforces the view that things are going to get worse before they get better."