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US Job Market Expected to Improve Soon, says Survey - 2004-03-16

A new survey of thousands of U.S. companies says the troubled American job market could improve soon.

Manpower Inc., the world's second largest staffing firm, said Tuesday that its closely-watched survey of employers shows that 28 percent of them plan to boost hiring between April and June.

That's a six percent increase from the same time last year and six points better than the first quarter of this year.

The job picture was further improved by a drop in the number of companies that plan layoffs.

Economists say hiring has lagged behind as the rest of the U.S. economy has recovered from a slump.

The official U.S. unemployment rate is 5.6 percent.

But experts say the rate would be up to four points higher if the figure included part-time workers who want full-time employment and workers who have given up looking for work.

Some information for this report provided by AP and Reuters