February employment data were dismal again and their analysis is easy: recession continues and the decline appears to have worsened.

Overall, the employment data were weaker than expected. Payrolls fell 651,000 and the January-December revisions showed a further drop of161,000. In addition to job losses and hours and earnings are dropping, the big surprise was a 0.5 point surge in the civilian unemployment rate to 8.1%, a 25-year high, which was the largest jump since December 1983.

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