WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Labor Department says the number of workplace suicides increased by 28% last year.
The rise in suicides came as the agency reported the overall number of workers who died on the job fell by 12%.
The 5,071 overall workplace fatalities recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in 2008 was the lowest number since the agency began tracking the data in 1992. That number includes 251 suicides, however.
The agency says economic factors could be responsible for the overall decline in fatalities. Workers on average worked 1 percent fewer hours last year and the construction industry posted even larger declines in employment or hours worked.