What was that about turning a corner again?

Twenty-two states reported a drop in payroll jobs last month, double the number for June, according to new Labor Department statistics. Among them were six of the states that could decide this fall’s presidential election. The declines in most cases were slight, but they drove home the frailty of the jobs recovery and highlighted risks to President Bush’s re-election strategy. The White House has been counting on consistent, robust growth by now to restore confidence in the economy and counter grim news from Iraq. The battleground states showing job losses in July were Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Pennsylvania and New Mexico, according to Labor Department figures released Aug. 20.

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