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Figures point to new peak in unemployment

Latest update : 2009-03-04

According to payroll firm ADP, almost 700,000 jobs were lost in the private sector in the US in February, a figure that was higher than expected. This comes two days before the publication of official government figures by the Labour Department.

AFP - The US private sector shed a greater-than-expected 697,000 jobs in February as employers slashed payrolls to cope with the shrinking economy, payrolls firm ADP data showed Wednesday.

The number of jobs lost accelerated from January and far exceeded analysts' consensus forecast of 630,000 as the prolonged recession intensified.

The February job losses were the highest since Automatic Data Processing (ADP) began tracking the number in 2000.

The snapshot pointed to grim Labor Department reports Friday on February job creation and unemployment.

ADP revised sharply higher its January job loss number to 614,000 from an initial estimate of 522,000.

Nearly half the job losses in February -- 359,000 -- were in the services sector, which accounts for about 85 percent of nonfarm jobs in the world's biggest economy.

That number outpaced the 327,000 service sector jobs lost in January.

The goods-producing sector continued to bleed jobs for the 26th consecutive month, losing 338,000 in February after 287,000 the prior month.

Of those, the battered manufacturing sector shed 219,000 jobs, its 36th consecutive month of job losses, according to ADP.

Large companies with at least 500 employees cut 121,000 payrolls in the month, while smaller companies were harder-hit.

Medium-sized firms employing 50 to 499 workers slashed 314,000 jobs, and small companies cut 262,000.

The unemployment snapshot comes two days before the Labor Department reports on public and private employment in February.

Before the ADP report, most analysts expected the government to announce the economy shed a seaonally adjusted 650,000 jobs in February, after 598,000 in January.

The unemployment rate is forecast to jump to 7.9 percent from 7.6 percent in January, the highest level since 1992.

Date created : 2009-03-04

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