524,000 jobs lost in December, unemployment rises to 7.2 percent.

The U.S. economy lost 524,000 jobs in December, the 12th straight month of decline. “Nearly 2.6 million jobs were lost in 2008, with 1.9 million destroyed in just the past four months.” It’s the biggest job loss in any calendar year since 1945. The unemployment rate rose to 7.2 percent, the highest since early 1993 — just after the last Bush left office. USA Today charts the job losses over the past year: