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Unemployment Holds at 9.7 Percent

In better than expected results, unemployment numbers reported Friday held steady at 9.7 percent in February, including a loss of 36,000 jobs. Economists had predicted a rise to a 9.8 percent unemployment rate and job loss of around 68,000, partially due to weather-related business closure. Though companies cut the fewest jobs in two years, rates of underemployment—part-time workers who would prefer to be full-time or workers who have ceased looking for new jobs—rose from 16.5 percent to 16.8 percent last month. Job gains and losses depended partially on industry, and while jobs were actually added in the service industry, positions were cut in construction. Sen. Harry Reid reacted a bit too positively. "Today is a big day in America," he said. "Only 36,000 people lost their jobs today, which is really good."