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Unemployment Rate Turns Upward
Democratic National Committee
April 2, 2004

Washington, D.C. - The unemployment rate increased to 5.7 percent, 36 percent higher than when President Bush took office, leaving 8.4 million Americans out of work. And over half a million workers (514,000) gave up on the job search in February.

"Any job creation is welcome, but the Bush record on the whole has left millions more Americans unemployed and struggling to make ends meet," Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Terry McAuliffe said Friday. "President Bush and the Republicans have even gone out of their way to make things worse for struggling families, cutting overtime pay and refusing to vote on increasing the minimum wage and extending unemployment insurance."

Under President Bush, 2.6 million private sector jobs have been lost. And the number of Americans who have been unemployed for an average of more than 20 weeks has reached a 20-year high, more evidence that the Bush economy has been particularly harsh to families.

"With millions of jobs lost over three-and-a-half years, George Bush wants to be graded on just one month of his Presidency. But far too many American families know firsthand the devastating effects of the Bush economy, and they are ready to flunk President Bush right out of office," McAuliffe said.

Senate Republicans rejected an opportunity to ease the burden for struggling families this week when they refused to vote on increasing the minimum wage. Democrats are seeking to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $7 over two years.

"First, President Bush cuts overtime pay for eight million workers and now Republicans are working to ensure that the poorest Americans remain so," McAuliffe added. "These are just a few examples of the overwhelming failure of George W. Bush and the Republicans to address the pressing needs of America's families."

In five of the last six months, (December being the exception), job predictions have been revised downward following the Department of Labor's initial report of job increases.

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