With little surprise but incredible effect, the U.S. unemployment rate rose to 7.6 percent in January, hitting its highest level since 1992. President Obama used the report to prod Congress to pass his economic stimulus package.

The BBC:

The US unemployment rate rose to 7.6% in January, up from 7.2% in December, according to official figures.

The rise puts the unemployment rate at the highest level since 1992.

According to the US Labor Department, the economy lost 598,000 non-farm jobs for the month, and it also revised upwards the job losses for December.

Commenting on the figures, President Obama said the “the situation could not be more serious” and added that “these numbers demand action”.

He urged the Congress to pass his economic stimulus package without delay and “not to get bogged down in distraction and delay while millions of Americans are being put out of work”.

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