Jobless rate soars to 6.1 percent

9/5/2008 The numbers were released a day after the Dow closed with its worst single day loss since June. The Dow Jones Industrial average plunged 345 points and the NASDAQ dropped 75 points.

The latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed troubling new numbers. The nation's employers slashed 84 thousand jobs last month, the eighth straight month of job losses.

The unemployment rate now stands at 6.1 percent, a massive one-month jump. The highest it's been since September of 2003.

The manufacturing sector took the biggest hit with 61 thousand jobs lost.

The news rattled the markets, already reeling from concerns over sluggish back to school sales.

Wages rose last month, but not enough to offset high food and gas prices, forcing Americans to buy only the necessities.

And retailers are feeling the effects. Their sales have been low, casualties of a scaled back economy.

These latest signs of the country's weakening fiscal health are certain to dominate the final weeks till the presidential election. Polls show the economy is the top priority for voters this year, with voters coping with high food prices and the mortgage crisis.

As for the Federal Reserve, most economists don't expect them to make any changes when they meet in two weeks and predict the prime rate will stay at two per cent for the rest of the year.

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