U.S. Unemployment Rises To 9.2%

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of a percent to 9.2 percent in June, according to data released today by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The economy added 57,000 private sector jobs, but that was offset by a drop of 39,000 government jobs for a net increase of just 18,000.

The job growth rate has fallen sharply from gains that had averaged 215,000 per month from February through April. Economists say that employers would need to add 125,000 jobs per month just to keep up with population growth. At least twice that many would be needed to lower the unemployment rate.

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“Our economic recovery is being, and needs to be, carried by the private sector. But we need to see businesses do more to employ American workers,” said U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “Many companies have had a great year and are sitting on large piles of capital. It is critical that they begin to turn their profits into jobs for the American people.”

Since March, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 545,000, and the U.S. unemployment rate has risen by four tenths of a percentage point. Of the 14.1 million unemployed workers, 6.3 million have been jobless for at least 27 weeks. Another 2.7 million people are counted as “marginally attached” to the labor force because they had not searched for work in the previous four weeks. Of those, 982,000 believe that no jobs are available for them.

Republicans wasted no time in attacking President Barack Obama and Democrats on the employment report.

“Today’s announcement that unemployment has risen to 9.2 percent is yet another sobering reminder that we must get our fiscal house in order,” said Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ.) “We must reject calls for higher taxes, greater spending and more regulations and instead focus on fiscally responsible pro-growth policies that will lead us toward a balanced budget, job creation and a stronger economy.”

The President said that uncertainty about whether Congress will vote to raise the nation’s debt ceiling is affecting the willingness of businesses to hire new workers. The sooner Congress passes a debt ceiling deal, “the sooner we give business the certainty they need to grow and hire,” Obama said.

The President’s administration favors a balanced approach of spending cuts and some tax increases, while Republicans only want to cut spending to address the U.S. deficit.


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