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June 09, 2003
Unemployment Rate Climbs to 6.1 Percent
Employers shed 17,000 jobs from their payrolls and the unemployment rate was 6.1 percent in May, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. The jobless rate reached its highest level in nearly nine years, according to the Associated Press.

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In April, the unemployment rate was 6.0 percent.

There were job gains in temporary help services and construction, while losses continued in manufacturing.

Professional and business services added 48,000 jobs in May, bolstered by strong growth in temporary help services (58,000).

Manufacturing employment decreased by 53,000, about the same as its average monthly decline for the prior 12 months. Since July 2000, the industry has lost 2.6 million jobs, a decline of about 15 percent.

There were 9.0 million unemployed workers in May. There were 1.9 million persons unemployed for 27 weeks or longer in May, about the same as in April. This measure has increased by 347,000 over the past 12 months.

In May, 1.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force. These individuals wanted and were available to work and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed, however, because they did not actively search for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. There were 482,000 discouraged workers in May. Discouraged workers, a subset of the marginally attached, were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them.

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