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Labor Market Slow To Recover

By John S. McClenahen Like the overall U.S. economy, the labor market is likely to be slow to recover between now and the end of the year. The major reason: "Corporate restructuring activities are continuing full force as companies resize themselves for profitability," says Merrill Lynch & Co., New York. The latest data from the U.S. Labor Department show that manufacturing employment continued to decline in June -- although at only about 20% of the rate at this time last year. Some 8.4 million people were unemployed in the U.S. in June, about the same number as in May. The overall jobless rate rose one-tenth of a percentage point in June, to 5.9%. Merrill Lynch foresees the unemployment rate edging up to 6% or a bit higher in the coming months.

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