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A Week's Worth

Job woes, again: Just when it seemed that the employment picture had brightened, the Labor Department reported that business payrolls expanded by only 78,000 jobs last month, less than half what economists had expected. At the same time, unemployment fell to 5.1 percent, its lowest level since 9/11, according to another Labor Department survey. But analysts - and Wall Street - gave more weight to the broader payrolls data. The job gain was the smallest recorded since August 2003.

Confidence slips: Americans didn't need a government report to feed their pessimism. In a survey, only a third say the economy is in good shape, says Pew Research Center. Also, for the first time in more than a year, pessimism about personal finances has trumped optimism, according to a survey of 9,000 workers by staffing firm Hudson. That finding, plus growing worries about layoffs, pushed the firm's employment index below 100 for the first time in the index's 18-month history.

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