The World

10 ESSENTIAL STORIES

1 | Washington Unemployment Soars With more than 500,000 cuts in November and December, the U.S. lost 2.6 million jobs in 2008, led by layoffs in manufacturing, construction and retail. It was the highest figure since 1945. Unemployment stood at 7.2%, with 11.1 million Americans out of work. Financial markets around the world tumbled after the news--viewed as another sign that the U.S. recession appeared no closer to ending--while President-elect Barack Obama said he would move quickly after taking office to pass a stimulus plan.

[The following descriptive text appears within a chart.]

Jan. 2008 Dec.

Month-to-month job losses in the...