Washington (AP) Employers buffeted by talk of a recession slashed 80,000 payroll jobs in march, the most in five years and the third straight month of losses. The unemployment rate jumped to 5.1 percent.
The new employment figures sounded the loudest warning yet that the country could well be in a recession.
The labor department reported that the seasonally adjusted civilian unemployment rate jumped from 4.8 percent in February to 5.1 percent in March. Though the figure is relatively moderate by historical standards, it was nonetheless the highest since September 2005, a time of job losses related to the devastating blows of gulf coast hurricanes.