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Old 03-06-2004, 08:48 AM
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Vote Bush, but don't quit your day job...

The results follow a January gain of 97,000 that was less than previously estimated, the Labor Department said in Washington, and trailed the median forecast of 130,000 in a Bloomberg News survey of economists. The unemployment rate held at 5.6 percent as more Americans gave up their search for a job.
Concerns about job losses have eroded the confidence of consumers, whose spending makes up 70 percent of the economy. The New York-based Conference Board's consumer confidence index for February fell to 87.3 from a revised 96.4 in January, the biggest decline since February 2003, a month before the start of fighting in Iraq.
Manufacturers lost 3,000 jobs last month for a 43rd straight decline. About 1.7 million factory jobs have been lost since the recession ended in November 2001.
The unemployment rate was forecast to hold at 5.6 percent, based on the Bloomberg survey for the Labor Department report. The labor participation rate, which measures the number of people employed or looking for jobs, fell to 65.9 percent from 66.1 percent, as 588,000 people left the work force. February's participation rate was the lowest since September 1988.
bloomberg article

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