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The unemployment rate rose to 6.8% in January, the highest since October 2007, according to a report by the Central Bureau of Statistics.

The number of unemployed has risen steadily since August 2008 from 6.1%, following three consecutive months of it remaining at 6%.

Unemployment fell during the first three quarters of 2008, after beginning the year at 6.4%.

The National Insurance Institute reported recently that it had received some 19,800 new requests for unemployment benefits in February, a new record for a single month.

The number is some 60% higher than for February of last year.

Unemployment rates have soared worldwide in the wake of the global financial crisis. In the United States, the unemployment rate is the highest it has been in more than thirty years, with the state of California reporting as much as 10% unemployment.