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Oil Prices and US Unemployment Surge, Stocks Sink


U.S. stock prices fell a very sharp three percent by the close of trading (Friday) after unemployment rose at the fastest rate in two decades and oil prices soared to another record high.

U.S. President George Bush says the jobless figures are a sign of slow growth in the economy. The jobless rate rose half a percent to five-point-five percent. The struggling U.S. economy had a net loss of 49-thousand jobs in May, as employers cut payrolls to make up for slack demand and soaring prices of raw materials.

Oil prices surged more than 11 dollars a barrel to set an all-time record high in New York trading. The price of a barrel of oil for future delivery went as high as 139 dollars and 12 cents (before easing back slightly at the close of trading). Prices surged after the head of the European Central Bank said Thursday the institution may raise interest rates.

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