After employers shed more jobs than expected in the month of June, the unemployment rate hit a 26-year high last month. New York Times columnist David Leonhardt talks about what the latest job numbers mean for the overall economic picture.
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U.S. employers cut far more jobs than expected last month; that word came from the Labor Department today. It was a fresh blow to hopes for an early recovery.
The report said 467,000 jobs were eliminated in June. That was 100,000 more than most economists predicted. The unemployment rate rose 0.1 point to 9.5 percent, the highest in 26 years.
In response, President Obama said he was "disappointed" and "deeply concerned." He spoke today with the Associated Press.
PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA:
We have successfully stabilized the financial markets, and that's important, because that was a huge drag that helped precipitate the crisis. We've started to see some stabilization on housing. But what we're still seeing is too many jobs lost, too many families who are worried about whether they're going to be next.
The jobs report set off a day-long selling binge on Wall Street. Major indexes fell more than 2 percent.
The Dow Jones industrial average lost 223 points to close at 8,280. The Nasdaq was down 49 points to close at 1,796. For the short holiday week, the Dow lost nearly 2 percent; the Nasdaq fell more than 2 percent.
And oil prices hit their lowest levels in a month on the employment news. Oil closed below $67 a barrel in New York trading.
Jeffrey Brown has more of our lead story coverage.