New unemployment figures show 35-year high - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

New unemployment figures show 35-year high

Posted by Colby Rogers - email

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWBT) - New unemployment figures released Friday morning report that nearly 600,000 more people lost their jobs in January -  a 35-year high. 

The U.S. Labor Dept. reports an unemployment rate of 7.6 percent, with more than 11.5 million Americans now jobless . That's more than the entire population of Ohio.

Keith Hall, the Commisioner of the Bureau of Labor statistics said that "no good news comes to mind in this report.

In a meeting with Congress this morning, Hall said the reach of unemployment had spread far beyond the effects seen from the housing industry.

"When consumer spending stops, it has a very, very broad impact on the economy," Hall said, "and I think that's what we're seeing."

The White House also released a statement this Friday morning saying the new unemployment  figures "reinforce the need for bold action."

The massive proposed economic stimulus plan is now approaching one trillion dollars in costs.

Democrats and Republicans in Congress worked late into Thursday night and were back at it Friday, attempting to slash $100 billion or more from the plan.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid said a vote tonight is still possible:

At a meeting of House Democrats in Williamsburg Thursday night, President Obama urged Republicans to get on board with the stimulus plan.

"Don't come to table with the same tired arguments and worn ideas that helped create this crisis," Obama said.

He mocked those who complain the plan is too expensive.

"Spending bill?  What do you think a stimulus is? That's the point," Obama said.

The President wants the approved stimulus plan on his desk in 10 days. A less-expensive version has already passed the House.

Assuming all Democrats in the Senate are on board with the measure, they will still need two Republicans to vote yes for it to pass.

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