Washington America's unemployment rate remained stuck at 5.6 percent in February as the economy added a paltry 21,000 positions. The figures dramatized the relative scarcity of new jobs in a week in which President Bush shoved his re-election campaign into high gear.
The latest snapshot of the employment climate released by the Labor Department Friday depicted the painfully slow job growth the country has been enduring. The net gain in payrolls in February fell well short of the 125,000 jobs that economists had been forecasting.
"Employers are still very, very cautious about adding bodies," said a disappointed Bill Cheney, chief economist at John Hancock.
The job gains in January were revised to show a pickup of just 97,000 positions, down from the 112,000 first estimated a month ago.