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Jobless Rate Edges Up to 4.4 Pct.

March 5, 1999

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The unemployment rate edged up slightly to 4.4 percent in February as the nation’s manufacturers continued to be battered by the global economic crisis.

Manufacturing employment fell by 50,000 last month, the biggest setback since last November, with layoffs especially high at apparel and aircraft factories, the Labor Department reported today.

Despite the weakness in manufacturing, the overall number of payroll jobs climbed by 275,000 last month, slightly higher than expectations. Mild winter weather helped boost employment in construction and workers in retail sales jumped by the largest amount in more than a decade.

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