Friday, January 09, 2004

Payrolls Barely Rise, Worse Than Expected

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - American employers barely took on any new workers in December, a disappointing government report on Friday showed, indicating the economic recovery has yet to translate into sustained jobs growth.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.7 percent, the lowest level in over a year and down from 5.9 percent in November. But this was largely due to people leaving the workforce, according to the Labor Department's report.

The number of workers on U.S. payrolls outside the farm sector in December increased by just 1,000, after a downwardly revised rise of 43,000 in November. It was the fifth consecutive monthly rise but was far worse than economist expectations of a rise of 130,000.


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