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September 05, 2003
Companies Shed 93,000 Jobs from Payrolls

Employers slashed 93,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate dipped from 6.2 percent to 6.1 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today.

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Job losses continued in manufacturing, information, and other sectors, while health care and construction added jobs.

The number of factory jobs decreased by 44,000 in August. Since July 2000, manufacturing employment has declined continuously, shedding nearly 16 percent of its jobs.

In August, 1.9 million persons had been unemployed for 27 weeks or more. They represented 21.8 percent of all unemployed persons, about the same as in July.

Nearly 1.7 million people were marginally attached to the labor force, 209,000 higher than a year earlier. 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.

Of the 1.7 million, 503,000 were discouraged workers - persons who were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them. The number of discouraged workers has risen by 125,000 over the year.

The other 1.2 million marginally attached had not searched for work for reasons such as school or family responsibilities.

It is unlikely that the blackout in the Northeast and Midwest in August had much of an effect on the employment counts, according to the BLS.

The employment report follows recent signs pointing to a turnaround in the jobs market, but the report casts more doubt on the ailing employment situation.

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