(Adds Biden quotes)
WASHINGTON, March 5 (Reuters) - U.S. jobs figures coming out on Friday are not expected to be “good news”, the White House said on Thursday, and Vice President Joe Biden warned the February figures may be worse than the previous month.
“I don’t expect good news,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs told a briefing when asked about the monthly jobless report for February to be released on Friday. “I assume that’s part of what the market sees today.”
The Labor Department said the number of U.S. workers filing new claims for jobless benefits fell by 31,000 to a seasonally adjusted 639,000 in the week ended Feb. 28, setting the stage for more comprehensive payrolls data due out on Friday.
“These are tough times for working Americans,” Biden said in an address to the executive council of the AFL-CIO union federation in Miami Beach, Florida.
“Three million Americans lost their job last year; another 600,000 the first quarter this year; and I’m sad to say, I think tomorrow, when the numbers come out, it may match or exceed January,” Biden said.
He reiterated the support of President Barack Obama’s administration for the Employee Free Choice Act legislation that seeks to boost union organization.
“You know, President Obama recognized that our economy isn’t built on corporations selling complicated fiscal products. We’ve seen where that’s gotten us. Our economy is built on hard-working Americans finding and filling good jobs,” Biden added.
The legislation, which is expected to be reintroduced soon by Democrats in Congress, will permit a company’s workers to unionize if a majority simply sign a card, rather than by the current practice of a vote by secret ballot -- a process that unions have said allows employers to intimidate workers. (Reporting by Jeff Mason in Washington and Pascal Fletcher in Miami, editing by Jim Loney)
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