US jobless figure slips -- sort of

June's unemployment rate dropped slightly, to 7.3 percent, but the decline is not a "believable trend" because of large technical swings in the figures, the Labor Department said. May's rate was 7.6 percent.

The monthly measurement of jobless rates showed the biggest shrinkage in the civilian labor force on record, 1.2 million. That was apparently due to an earlier than usual end of the college year, which confused the seasonal-adjustment process, a Labor Department analyst said.

Unemployment traditionally rises in June as many young people leave school to enter the labor market, a factor compensated for in the government's seasonal adjustment for the month. But this year many colleges ended the school year in early May, and students had already secured jobs by June. As a result, the government's seasonal adjustments o vercorrected and drove the total June unemployment rate down

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