TOPICS > Economy

Unemployment Rate Drops to 6 Percent

BY Admin  November 7, 2003 at 1:30 PM EDT

Payrolls grew by 126,000 last month, the Labor Department reported Friday, far surpassing the 50,000 new jobs economists had predicted.

In addition to this month’s payroll increase, the Labor Department also corrected September’s figure for new jobs, to 125,000 from 57,000.

New jobs were added in technical services, temporary employment firms, health care, social work, education and retail, the Associated Press reported.

“We can finally put the nail in the coffin of the jobless recovery,” Ken Mayland, president of Clear View Economics, told the Associated Press. “We are back on a rising job track.”

Not all of the news was good, however. For the 37th consecutive month, the manufacturing sector continued to suffer, shedding 24,000 additional jobs.

The airline industry also continued to feel losses. The industry has lost more than 20 percent of its jobs, since its employment high in March 2001.

In addition, not all of the job growth reflected permanent positions. New hires included 33,000 temporary jobs, continuing a trend from the last five months.

“In the short run, they are hiring temporary workers,” Mayland said. “It is creating a pent-up demand for hiring. I think the rebound is sustainable.”

With the presidential election next year, Democrats had thought they could use the lagging jobless figures against President Bush in the race for the White House.

“The most likely scenario is, we’ll get enough jobs so it won’t be the issue Democrats need to oust the president,” the AP quoted Mark Zandi, chief economist at Economy.com, as saying.

The White House responded to the news on Friday, saying that the growth will continue at a “robust pace.”

“The labor market has turned the corner,” Gregory Mankiw, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, told Reuters in an interview.

Mankiw also added that he did not see much of a risk for spiking interest rates caused by low inflation.