The nation’s jobless ranks zoomed past 10 million last month, the most in a quarter-century, as piles of pink slips shut factory gates and office doors to 240,000 more Americans with the holidays nearing. Politicians and economists agreed on a painful bottom line: It’s only going to get worse.
Thesoared to a 14-year high of 6.5 percent, the government said Friday, up from 6.1 percent just a month earlier. And there was more grim news from U.S. automakers: Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp., American giants struggling to survive, each reported big losses and figured to be announcing even more job cuts before long.
Regulators, meanwhile, shut down Houston-based Franklin Bank and Security Pacific Bank in Los Angeles on Friday, bringing the number of failures of federally insured banks this year to 19.
By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. was appointed receiver of Franklin Bank, which had $5.1 billion in assets and $3.7 billion in deposits as of Sept. 30, and of Security Pacific Bank, with $561.1 million in assets and $450.1 million in deposits as of Oct. 17.
Barack Obama, in his first news conference as president-elect, said the nation was facing the economic challenge of a lifetime but expressed confidence he could deal with it.
“Immediately after I become president, I’m going to confront this economic crisis head on by taking all necessary steps to ease the credit crisis, help hardworking families, and restore growth and prosperity,” he said after meeting with economic advisers in Chicago. “I’m confident a new president can have an enormous impact.”
Wall Street revived somewhat after two days of big losses. The Dow Jones industrials rose 248 points.
Still, the Labor Department’s unemployment report provided stark evidence that the economy’s health was deteriorating at an alarmingly rapid pace. Thewas 4.8 percent just one year ago.