Business: Jobs: For a Change, a Pleasant Surprise

For a change, economists got a pleasant surprise last week. They had been bracing themselves for a February unemployment rate of 8% or higher, since the Government collected its jobless figures in mid-month, when layoffs forced by cold weather and energy shortages were at their peak. Instead, the jobless rate was 7.5%, only slightly higher than 7.3% in January—a powerful indication that the economic recovery retained its underlying strength through the bitter winter. About 225,000 workers were laid off in February because of the cold, and another 220,000 were forced onto short weeks. Still, the number of people who do have...

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