- The US unemployment rate returned to a seven-year high
last month as the US lost a surprising number of jobs, according to an
official report released on Friday.
- The Labor Department said the unemployment rate rose
to 6 per cent in November - the seven-year high it previously reached in
April - as the number of payrolls outside the agricultural sector shrank
by 40,000. The ongoing erosion of the US manufacturing sector contributed
to the broad-based losses - the biggest payroll contraction since April.
- The figures were significantly below expectations. Most
economists had forecast a 40,000 to 50,000 gain in non-farm jobs and an
unemployment rate of 5.8 per cent.
- The report could be a severe blow to investors, who have
already been expressing renewed doubts about the recovery.
- The report is also likely to revive speculation about
a deflation threat and bets that the Federal Reserve will lower short-term
interest rates again when policymakers meet on Tuesday.