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CARB-ISSUED DRAFT COULD RESULT IN A BILLION DOLLARS OF ADDITIONAL COMPLIANCE COSTS

On October 14, 2003, California Air Resources Board (CARB) issued its draft regulatory language addressing evaporative emissions from lawn and garden equipment. After an initial review of these draft regulations, the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) announced it is disappointed that CARB has failed to address many of the industry's objections and concerns. Most significantly, CARB has refused to limit the program (as requested) to those products sold and used in California. If the CARB regulations become de facto national standards through state opt-in, OPEI projects that the CARB rules could impose $1 billion in additional compliance costs over the next decade. These increased regulatory compliance costs may accelerate the further loss of U.S. jobs to cheaper foreign markets.

OPEI submitted a letter to the California EPA to reiterate OPEI's position as presented in OPEI's written and oral statement to CARB earlier this year. In its prior testimony and in its October 17th letter, OPEI again urges CARB to: (1) limit its regulatory program to products sold and used in California; and (2) work with the independent national fire and safety organizations that still believe a safety study is required to address their unresolved safety concerns.

UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS STEADY

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The unemployment rate remained at 6.1 percent in September, and total non-farm payroll employment was little changed, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported.

The number of unemployed persons, 9 million, was about un-changed in September, and the un-employment rate was 6.1 percent, the same as in August.

Unemployment rates for the major worker groups — adult men (5.7 percent), adult women (5.3 percent), teenagers (17.5 percent), whites (5.3 percent), blacks (11.2 percent), and Hispanics or Latinos (7.5 percent) — were little changed in September. The unemployment rate for Asians was 6.2 percent, not seasonally adjusted.

In September, there were 2.1 million unemployed persons who had been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, representing 23.2 percent of the total unemployed. Since November 2001, the proportion of long-term unemployed has increased by about 9 percentage points.

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