WASHINGTON — The U.S. labor market remained weak in 2002, as the nation’s unemployment rate ended the year at a nine-year high of 6 percent.

The labor market lost 101,000 jobs in December, the largest drop since February, while payrolls shed a total of 181,000 jobs for all of 2002, according to the monthly jobs report released by the Labor Department Friday. Domestic apparel factories and textile mills, as well as department and general merchandise stores, were all impacted heavily by the weakened economy last year.

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