Friday, October 7, 2011

U.S. Economy Adds 103K Jobs in September

The nation’s unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent during the month of September, as employers added a net of 103,000 new jobs to their payrolls, according to figures released Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor. Since April, the rate has held in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent. Government data shows that there are 14 million people out of work in the United States. The increase in employment last month partially reflected the return of about 45,000 telecommunications workers who had been on strike in August. Without that gain, the payroll increase would have fallen in line with analysts’ expectations. Most were forecasting new job growth to come in at about 60,000. The Labor Department’s report also painted a better picture of the employment situation for the previous two months. Officials revised August’s disappointing reading of no net job gain to reflect 57,000 new jobs during the month. July’s figures were also revised upward from 85,000 to 127,000 in job growth. President Obama spent the week traveling to strategic cities across the country promoting his American Jobs Act. Economists at Freddie Mac have said the president’s proposal could add as many as 1.3 million jobs to the economy, but his adversaries in Congress say they won’t sign on to the bill’s tax hike on the wealthy or to additional spending with the country’s debt level so high. Obama has been on the attack, calling out the bill’s naysayers by name in speeches before constituents in their hometowns. “I want an explanation as to why we shouldn’t be doing it, people really need help right now,” Obama said in a press conference Thursday morning. “[W]e’re not going to bring up the president’s bill in whole, because we don’t believe in raising taxes and in more stimulus spending. But we are going to take the parts that we agree on,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) said on the House floor Thursday afternoon following Obama’s appeal. Of the 14 million people out of work, the Labor Department says nearly half have been unemployed for more than six months, and a third have been without a job for more than a year. Economists and housing analysts warn that job loss – long-term unemployment especially – is now the biggest driver of mortgage defaults. (Be sure to check out’s earlier coverage of housing programs in place to assist the unemployed and their results thus far.)

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