U.S. December job losses rise

WASHINGTON -- Disappointing news on the jobs front from the U.S. Employers there laid off 85,000 people in December.

That was a lot more than economists had predicted and was a blow to recent optimism about a recovery in the labor market.

The figures for October and November were also revised to show the economy lost 1,000 more jobs than had been previously estimated over those two months.

In October, the jobless total was the worst in 26 years at 10.2 percent of the working population.

It slipped in November to 10 percent and was unchanged in December.

For all of last year the U.S. economy shed 4.2 million jobs, and the number of long term unemployed continued to rise.

Manufacturing lost 27,000 jobs in December while the building industry laid off 53,000 workers.

It was not all bad news – the job market did show broad improvement last month, with a number of sectors recording gains.

However unemployment remains the Achilles heel of the U.S. economic recovery with Americans unwilling to spend with the specter of job loss hanging over them.