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Unemployment Rate Climbs to 8.1% in New Sign of Deepening Recession

The Labor Department reported Friday that the U.S. unemployment rate hit 8.1 percent, its highest rate in 25 years. Ray Suarez reports on the latest employment numbers, reaction from the White House and the impact on Wall Street.

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  • JIM LEHRER:

    The national unemployment rate climbed 0.5 percent today, another sign of a deepening recession. The Labor Department reported it jumped to 8.1 percent for February, the highest jobless rate since 1983.

    Ray Suarez has our lead story report.

  • RAY SUAREZ:

    It's the largest percentage of Americans out of work in 25 years, the biggest slump in employment in the post-World War II period, and it was the first thing President Obama addressed during a visit to Columbus, Ohio, today.

    BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States: Just this morning, we learned that we lost another 651,000 jobs throughout the country in the month of February alone, which brings the total number of jobs lost in this recession to an astounding 4.4 million, 4.4 million jobs. I don't need to tell the people of this state what statistics like this mean.