US jobless rate jumps to 4.9%

US - The US unemployment rate rose sharply to 4.9% in August, official data has showed.

The figures surprised economists, almost all of whom had been expecting only a marginal rise from July's 4.5%.

The jobless rate was the highest seen in the United States since September 1997 and raises the prospect of another emergency cut in interest rates in an attempt to keep the country out of recession.

Stock markets around the world dropped immediately after the Department of Labor numbers were issue

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