The American economy was dealt another brutal blow in November with the loss of a startling 553,000 jobs, the government announced today.
The number was much worse than Wall Street analysts had predicted. It was the largest monthly decline since December 1974 and it shows just how long and bad this recession has become. Since the start of the year American employers have shed 1.8 million jobs.
Just about every day, another company announces a big round of layoffs.
Just today, General Motors announced that it would fire another 2,000 workers in three car factories. Thursday, DuPont said it would cut about 2,500 jobs and AT&T Inc., the largest U.S. phone company, said it's eliminating 12,000 jobs.
"Today's job data reflects the fact that our economy is in a recession," President Bush said today.
"I'm concerned about our workers who've lost jobs during this downturn," he said. "As we work to address the problems in this economy, we've extended unemployment insurance benefits to those who have lost their jobs during this downturn."
To see the impact the recession is having on Americans, look no further than the Bexley family of Loveland, Colo.
In the past three months, mom was laid off from a home-building company, her son from a bar and grill, and now dad has lost his job at a medical-supply company.
"It was heart-crushing, really," said the mother, Emily Bexley, who was laid off in August. "I just I cried and cried and cried, because none of us have a job."
Father Bud Bexley lost his job last month.
"I kind of got a sick feeling in my stomach," he said. "I'm out looking for a job today, and delivering resumes, and just doing what you've got to do, I guess."
Dale Brandt lost his job as an aerospace scientist 11 weeks ago. At a job fair in Virginia today, he said he remained determined to find a position.
"It's stressful but you just have to keep pushing otherwise you're not going to get anything," said Brandt.
Andrea McCullum was one of 700 workers in Chicago today who turned out for 50 part-time positions driving a city bus.
"I'm just trying to take anything just to pay the bills," she said.
There are a few people benefiting during this economy.
Larry, who asked that his last name not be used, processes unemployment claims for the state of California.
As the economy has sunk deeper into a recession, he has worked longer and longer hours to process all the claims. He now gets about 20 hours of overtime each week. That's been going on for nearly five months.
Now he is even working Saturdays to handle extra claims.
"I never, never mention it to people that I'm talking to on the phone, because they are unemployed," Larry said. "It's not a good situation."
Recently, he said, there is more panic in people's voices as they call up to seek government help.
Long-time employees now laid off are also finding a vastly different job scene.
"Looking for a job has changed," Larry said. You used to be able to walk into a company and fill out an application or mail in your resume. "Everything is over the computer or through e-mail now."
The unemployment rate also shot up from 6.5 percent to 6.7 percent, the Labor Department said. It is the highest unemployment rate the country has seen since October 1993.