January 9, 2009 8:52 AM

New jobs numbers portray an economy in near free fall

The Labor Department reported a series of grim numbers Friday: 524,000 jobs lost in December, 7.2 percent unemployment, and the fewest hours worked in 44 years. That last statistic is an especially grim harbinger, since employers cut hours before they cut the job altogether. All in all, more than 11 million Americans are unemployed.

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