This morning, for the third month in a row, the Labor Department announced job-loss numbers that have pushed the national unemployment rate from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent. That's the highest it's been since 2005 after the Gulf Coast hurricanes and the significant job losses that followed, and the 80,000 jobs lost last month is the most since March 2003. Economists were predicting lower numbers all around, and the actual reported figures imply that the economy has been in a period of contraction for some time.
These negative numbers aren't doing anything to argue against the idea that our economy is already in a recession, and this week Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that we could be headed that way. Whether the economy falls into the definition of a recession or not, the fact remains that 80,000 jobs across most sectors were lost last month. There were gains in education, health care, leisure and hospitality, and government, but those positives weren't enough to overcome the huge March losses.