U.S. Unemployment Hits Two-Year High; Construction, Financial Jobs Cut

Washington–Hampered by the housing decline and credit crisis, the U.S. unemployment rate hit its highest level since 2005 and employment was stagnant in December, according to a report released Friday by the Labor Department.In addition to the high unemployment rate, which shot up from 4.7 percent in November to 5 percent, the economy added the fewest amount of jobs in more than four years, The Washington Post reports.Total payrolls–encompassing both private employers and government–increased by a scant 18,000 in December, the lowest amount since the 2001 recession.Due to the housing slump, jobs were cut in the manufacturing, construction and financial service industries last month. The results showed the growing hesitation that employers, dealing with the ongoing concern about the economy and a possible recession, are feeling, the Post said.