Employers Cut 80,000 Jobs

** FILE ** Unemployed people wait in line at the California Employment Development Department in San Jose, Calif., in this Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2008 file photo. A bipartisan Senate majority thinks providing as much as six months of extra unemployment checks to more than a million jobless workers is a better way to dig the economy out of a possible recession than just printing tax rebate checks. Some economists agree, and undoubtedly, so do the 1.2 million American workers who face losing an average of $282 a week in benefits before June. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma File)
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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.

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