Employment continued to fall sharply in February with more than half a million jobs being cut during the month. That figure brings the unemployment rate to 8.1 percent from 7.6 in January, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Last month, job losses were large and widespread across nearly all major industry sectors with the leisure and hospitality industry losing more than 30,000 jobs.

The overall number of unemployed people increased by almost 1 million to 12.5 million in February.

Employment in the leisure and hospitality business continued to disappear over the month (down 33,000 jobs) while retail employment fell by 40,000 over the same time period.

Over the past year, the number of unemployed has increased by about 5 million with men accounting for more of the unemployed than women. Whites now have an unemployment rate of 7.3 percent, blacks: 13.4 percent, Hispanics: 10.9 percent, and Asians: 6.9 percent.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) increased to 2.9 million in February. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed was up by 1.6 million.

Finance, News