While economists were expecting the US unemployment rate to go up in November, no-one quite <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/wire/Business/ap20021206_554.html">expected the jump</a> that was actually reported. For the first time in over eight years, the figure topped 6%, up from October's rate of 5.7%. The news from the Labor Department comes at a bad time for the administration which was forecasting moderate growth going into this quarter. November's rate is the highest since 1994, when it hit 6.1%, and is coupled with the bad news that U.S. companies had slashed 40,000 workers from the payrolls. The news also puts a damper on the mood among those who have been unemployed, as it looks as if the economy is not going to rebound anytime soon, and job opportunities will continue to be lean with some newly found competition. Of course, those who are at about the end of their eligibility to receive unemployment payments, were recently given a lump of coal by a Congress that voted themselves a raise and <a href="http://www.freelancestar.com/News/FLS/2002/122002/12062002/811572">forgot to extend unemployment benefits to anyone else. </a> Of course, there's two whole years to go before Bush has to run for reelection. And, of course, he'll be banking on the goodwill of the American people, a war dividend, and some kind of economic rebound. But could you imagine the Democratic challenger in 2004 continually saying to himself, 'it's the economy, stupid'?