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The US Department of Labor reported that the nation's unemployment rate dropped to 5.6 percent in January as companies added 112,000 new jobs in January.

This news stood in contrast to the report last week from outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas that the announcement of job cuts by US corporations were up 26 percent in January from the previous month, the highest since October.

However, January 2004 layoffs were 11 percent lower than January 2003's 132,222 and 53 percent lower than January 2002's 248,475.

The issue of unemployment and job creation is certain to be a major issue in the coming presidential campaign. The Associated Press notes that it is one on which President Bush could be vulnerable, since "the economy has lost more than 2 million jobs since he took office, giving him the worst job creation record of any president since Herbert Hoover."
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