The unemployment rate jumped from 4.8 percent to 5.1 percent in March, a total loss of 80,000 jobs. That marks the biggest decline in five years, and follows 76,000 jobs lost in both January and February. "There doesn't appear to be any silver lining," an interest rate strategist at Credit Suisse told Reuters. "It shows that we're right in the middle of a recession that will probably take a while."
Considering this news, it's not surprising that 81 percent of Americans say that "things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track," according to a New York Times/CBS News poll. That figure is the highest ever recorded in the poll, which started in the early '90s. It's a bleak picture:
A majority of nearly every demographic and political group Democrats and Republicans, men and women, residents of cities and rural areas, college graduates and those who finished only high school say the United States is headed in the wrong direction. Seventy-eight percent of respondents said the country was worse off than five years ago; just 4 percent said it was better off.
See the graph at right: one might observe that the Bush Administration's second term has been one long ever-worsening crisis of confidence.