WASHINGTON — In an election-year move aimed at countering President Bush’s claims of economic recovery, the AFL-CIO on Thursday unveiled a job-loss tracking Web site intended to highlight U.S. companies that have moved operations overseas.

Union officials, who are backing Democratic Sen. John Kerry’s presidential candidacy, said the site is intended to highlight the uneven effects on U.S. jobs from the expansive international trade policies furthered by Bush.

The union is angered by the loss of some 2.5 million manufacturing jobs since Bush took office in 2001. Overall, there has been a net loss of 913,000 private-industry jobs during Bush’s presidency.

For his part, the President has asserted the economy has rounded the corner and in recent months has begun adding jobs, although critics have said that’s happened at a pace slower than that needed to keep up with workers entering the labor force. Bush maintains the U.S. economy will naturally sprout job opportunities to replace American job losses triggered by competition from outsourcing or imports.

Called Job Tracker, the site is based on information gleaned from Labor Department records, Security and Exchange Commission filings, a list from CNN’s “Exporting America” site and local newspaper accounts. The site, at Workingamerica.org/jobtracker, allows users to search by zip code or by company name.

“Unfortunately, the official policies of the current administration in Washington promote exporting American jobs instead of attacking the problem,” AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer Richard Trumka said in a statement.

Meanwhile, with the election less than two months away, two polls weighing the popularity of the Bush and Kerry candidacies were released Thursday with contrasting results.

The Pew Research Center said a Sept. 11-14 survey of registered voters placed the candidates in a tie among registered voters, with 46 percent of the electorate supporting each candidate. Among voters who described themselves as “likely” to vote, Bush pushed ahead to 47 percent against Kerry’s 46 percent. Both results reflect Bush’s lead evaporating after his post-Republican National Convention uplift last month. Pew said voters remain divided about the economy and the war in Iraq, but 58 percent felt Bush was better at handling terrorism than Kerry. Thirty-one percent said Kerry would be better at fighting terrorism.

This story first appeared in the September 17, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

After the convention, a Pew poll found Bush was ahead 52 percent among registered voters to Kerry’s 40 percent.

However, another poll released Thursday showed Bush had increased his lead among rural Americans in 17 election battleground states. Registered voters, polled by the nonpartisan Center for Rural Strategies, showed 55 percent of respondents in those key states preferred Bush, with 42 percent supporting Kerry. This lead is considered significant since 59 million Americans live in rural areas, accounting for 1 in 5 people in the country.