August figures showed that the country's unemployment had hit a four-year low of 4.9 percent as companies added 169,000 jobs, though the effect of Hurricane Katrina remains to be seen.

The Labor Department statistics included employment information collected before the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, the after effects of which will likely eliminate growth through the end of the year, even accounting for rebuilding efforts. In the latest available data, employment was up across all industries, except manufacturing.

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