Job losses rise, but unemployment rate holds

(AP) - Lack of confidence in the economic recoveryled employers to shed a more-than-expected 85,000 net jobs inDecember even as the unemployment rate held at 10 percent. The ratewould have been higher if more people had been looking for workinstead of leaving the labor force because they can't find jobs.

The sharp drop in the work force - 661,000 fewer people - showedthat more of the jobless are giving up. Once people stop lookingfor jobs, they're no longer counted among the unemployed.

When discouraged workers and part-time workers who would preferfull-time jobs are included, the so-called "underemployment" ratein December rose to 17.3 percent, from 17.2 percent in November.That's just below a revised figure of 17.4 percent in October, thehighest on records dating from 1994.

Many analysts had hoped Friday's report would show the economygained jobs for the first time in two years. While the revisedfigures found an increase in November, it was tiny.

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