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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

Unemployment Rate Hits 8.5 Percent

The nation's unemployment rate shot up again in March to 8.5 percent, with losses across a wide area of job sectors, according to federal data released this morning.

About 663,000 jobs were lost in March with the biggest declines in manufacturing and construction. The only sectors to see gains were education and health services. Since the recession began in December 2007, the country has lost 5.1 million jobs, with about two-thirds of that coming in the past five months.

We'll see how Wall Street digests the data this morning. The markets seem to have already accounted for the gloomy numbers, which were widely expected. Dow Jones futures were up about an hour before the bell. Stocks have enjoyed a rally for the past few weeks, which has some investors hoping that we have reached a bottom.

-- Ylan Mui

By Dan Beyers  |  April 3, 2009; 8:39 AM ET
Categories:  The Ticker  
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