A man looks at his pink slip
A man looks at his pink slip - 
Listen To The Story


BILL RADKE: The unemployment numbers came out this morning,
and they're as bad as was feared. Actually, worse -- 651,000 jobs lost in January. Unemployment at 8.1 percent, a 25-year high. And no end in sight.

Marketplace's Dan Grech reports.

DAN GRECH: Twelve and a half million people are now unemployed.
That's the highest number since records started being kept in 1940. Analyst Greg McBride is with Bankrate.com.

GREG MCBRIDE: It's people of all walks of life, in all industries. You know, there are very few places to hide. Even among different levels of education, unemployment has essentially doubled in the last year.

Twenty states have admitted that they can't keep up with the applications for unemployment benefits. Chris Low is chief economist with FTN Financial.

CHRIS LOW: There was a job fair in New York City sponsored by Monster.com two days ago, and there was a line that stretched for blocks. Thousands and thousand of people coming out trying to find something.

Economists say jobless numbers at this massive a scale can become a vicious circle. People get so nervous about losing their jobs, they stop spending. That forces retailers to cut back, driving the jobless rate even higher.

I'm Dan Grech for Marketplace.