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Ladywriter

Jobless rate soars to 8.5 percent in March

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Unemployment rate highest since late 1983; 663,000 jobs lost

The nation's unemployment rate jumped to 8.5 percent in March, the highest since late 1983, as a wide swath of employers eliminated 663,000 jobs. It's fresh evidence of the toll the recession has inflicted on America's workers, and economists say there's no relief in sight. If part-time and discouraged workers are factored in, the unemployment rate would have been 15.6 percent in March, the highest on records dating to 1994, according to Labor Department data released Friday.

The average work week in March dropped to 33.2 hours, a new record low.


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