Unemployment: Are We at the Bottom Yet?

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The job losses pushed the nation's unemployment rate to 8.5 percent making it the highest since late 1983.

Since the recession began 16 months ago the U.S. has lost a net total of 5.1 million jobs.

Most jobs have been lost in the last five months and the jobless report is one Wall Street watches very closely because it indicates whether companies are hiring or firing.

Lawmakers on Capitol Hill are now trying to figure out when the economy is going to bottom out.

Click play for more insight on the recent unemployment numbers with author and financial advisor Carolyn Castleberry.

"I say the job losses have been remarkably consistent. The labor market continues to deteriorate at about the same pace," Keith Hall, Commissioner Bureau of Labor Statistics said.

Most economists expect job cuts to continue for most of the year, but reports on the economy still remain mixed.

Author and financial advisor Carolyn Castleberry says education and health care, for example, are two industries that actually show job gains.

She adds that orders placed with U.S. factories also rose in February, ending six straight months of declines, and reports on construction spending and pending home sales are up.

Still, Castleberry warns that these positive reports can take a while to affect the overall picture.

"The unemployment rate is calculated by using a survey of households, as opposed to companies," she explained. "We're talking Main Street, not just Wall Street. That's why the unemployment rate is one of the slowest to recover, and the news here doesn't look good."

Another group has revealed it expects the jobless rate to reach 10.5 percent by the end of next year. Castleberry adds that workers also have schedule cuts to worry about.

"Besides layoffs, a lot of people who do have jobs are being cut back to part-time," she said. "While average hourly earnings were up slightly, the number of hours worked is down. So many people are bringing home less to their families."

United Technologies, General Dynamics, National Semiconductor and Wal-Mart are the most recent companies to announce layoffs.

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