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August 04, 2003
Unemployment Drops to 6.2 Percent
The unemployment rate dropped to 6.2 percent in July, but payroll employment fell by 44,000 while 470,000 discouraged workers stopped looking for work, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported Friday.

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Payroll employment has declined for the past 6 months. Job losses continued in manufacturing, while temporary help and other administrative services added workers.

In July, the number of unemployed persons was 9.1 million. The number of persons unemployed for less than 5 weeks decreased by 279,000. There were 2.0 million unemployed persons who had been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, about the same level as in June.

The civilian labor force decreased by 556,000 in July to 146.5 million. This decline follows an increase of a similar magnitude in June. The labor force participation rate fell to 66.2 percent. In July, total employment was down slightly to 137.5 million, and the employment-population ratio declined to 62.1 percent.

In July, about 1.6 million persons (not seasonally adjusted) 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. Of the 1.6 million, 470,000 were discouraged workers who were not currently looking for work specifically because they believed no jobs were available for them. The other 1.1 million marginally attached had not searched for work for reasons such as child-care or transportation problems.

In June, the unemployment rate was 6.4 percent.

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