US employers axed 533,000 jobs in November, the biggest monthly cut since 1974, the US Labor Department said.
In a dramatic indication of the worsening economic situation, the US jobless rate rose to a 15-year high of 6.7% from 6.5% in October.
Since these latest figures were compiled, further jobs losses have been announced, including big cuts at AT&T.
The grim economic data pushed Wall Street shares down by 2.5% while oil fell to a near four-year low of $40.
Recent data has fuelled fears that the world's biggest economy is set for a deep, long downturn.
Wow, that is shocking, over half a million more people out of work in a single month. My mum has just been to California for her annual US holiday, and she said it has changed beyond recognition since last year. The malls are empty, and the few people in them, don't want to spend money. Loads of businesses and shops etc are closing/downsizing, and everyone seems just generally miserable. The friends she goes and stays with, they have had to downsize from a $2 million house, because they simply could not afford the mortgage in the face of rising costs and taxes, and one of her friends works for nVidia, but even she is unsure if she will have a job come this time next year. She went to the mall a few days after the big sales, and she said the car park was almost empty, and its always packed whenever she has been before, and its the fall season for crying out loud.
They have cut back on everything public service wise, and even things like bus services etc have been slashed by 60% in the area she stayed, due to the lack of money and increased taxes.
She said if we think its bad over here, we aint seen nothing. America almost seem's like it is back in a depression, its a shadow of its former self.
The only positive thing for most people is that they are glad to have "new blood" as they say, coming in January, and can't wait to see the back of Bush. BBC News Report