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April 07, 2003
Firms Shed 108,000 Jobs in March
U.S. firms cut 108,000 jobs in March, but the unemployment rate remained at 5.8 percent, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Economists had predicted that the economy would lose 25,000 payrolls jobs, according to a poll from Dow Jones News Wire.

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In February payrolls declined by 357, 000, revised from a 308,000 decline.

In March job losses continued in manufacturing, retail trade, and transportation, and a job loss occurred in government.

Employment in manufacturing fell by 36,000. Since last July, factory job losses have averaged about 50,000 per month. In March, the losses were again widespread.

Construction employment increased by 21,000 in March following a decline of 42,000 in February. The manufacturing industry cut 36,000 jobs. Employment in services was flat over the month, after sustaining a loss of 121,000 in February (as revised). Agricultural services employment declined by 15,000 after seasonal adjustment.

Health services saw its job growth resume in March, following a month in which employment was unchanged, according to the BLS.

In March there were about 8.4 million unemployed Americans. Nearly 1.8 million of those who were unemployed had been jobless for 27 weeks or longer.

Dow Jones News Wire reports that the unemployment rate may have remained at 5.8 percent in March due to an increase in the number of discouraged workers, who the BLS does not count in its unemployment calculations. In March there were 474,000 discouraged workers, compared with 450,000 in February


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