U.S. economy sheds 663,000 jobs in March

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The U.S. economy lost a gargantuan 663,000 jobs in March, the U.S. Labor Department announced Friday, with the nation's unemployment rate jumping to 8.5 percent, the highest rate in more than two decades.

What's more, the nation's economy has now shed more than 5 million jobs since the recession started in December 2007, and an astounding 2.5 million jobs in the last four months.

A Bloomberg News economists survey had forecast the economy to shed 650,000 jobs in March and the unemployment rate to hit 8.5 percent.

Economists say there are some signs the recession may be bottoming as fiscal and monetary stimulus begins to take effect, but it will likely be several more months before job losses subside, and unemployment, a lag indicator, starts to fall.

Details to follow.
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