WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Bush hopes an economic stimulus bill that he plans to sign into law will provide another quick jolt, shaking the nation out of its financial doldrums.
Bush was using his weekly radio address Saturday to sign the measure, approved, 417-3 by the House on Thursday and 85-9 by the Senate on Friday after months of partisan wrangling.
Also on Friday, Bush and Wall Street welcomed an unexpected drop in the unemployment rate.
But the president said the recent signs that the economy may be recovering do not absolve Washington of its duty to help Americans who are out of work or on the brink of being laid off.
``I'm not going to let the numbers lull me to sleep,'' Bush told workers at a semiconductor company in Florida. He also pledged to sign the bill into law.
The positive report sent stock prices higher.
The recession-relief package sent to Bush extends regular 26-week unemployment benefits by 13 weeks and allows additional automatic extensions in states with high unemployment rates. It also provides businesses with a variety of tax breaks.
The legislation would pump $51 billion into the economy this year, $43 billion next year and $29 billion in 2004, congressional analysts say. Its cost over 10 years is about $42 billion, because some tax breaks would generate government revenue in later years.
The nation's unemployment rate unexpectedly slipped to 5.5 percent in February as businesses, after slashing payrolls for six straight months, added 66,000 new workers. It was the strongest signal yet that the country's first recession in a decade is ending.