Unemployment steady at 9.1 percent

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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The economy produced no additional new jobs in August, as an extra 17,000 private sector jobs were offset by a decline in government jobs.

The nation’s unemployment rate remained at 9.1 percent in August, as 14 million people continued on the unemployment rolls, and the civilian employment participation rate nudged up slightly to 64 percent.

That’s awful news for President Barack Obama, who heads to Detroit Monday for a Labor Day speech. He’s expected to call for new job-creation programs, as part of his continued effort to use his financial support for the auto-industry to reverse his declining support among African-Americans and working-class whites. (RELATED: Obama’s approval hits record low in Quinnipiac poll)

Republicans were quick to blame Obama’s economic policies for the stalled economy. “Private-sector job growth continues to be undermined by the triple threat of higher taxes, more failed ‘stimulus’ spending, and excessive federal regulations. Together, these Washington policies have created a fog of uncertainty that’s left small businesses unable to hire and American families worried about the future,” according to a statement from House Speaker John Boehner.

White House economic advisers announced yesterday they expect the unemployment level to remain at 9 percent through 2012. Growth in private-sector employment was slightly offset by a 17,000 loss in government employment.

Today’s estimate also revised the estimate for job creation for June and July down by 58,000 new jobs, to a revised total estimate of 105,000 for the two months.

In July, the labor force amounted to 153.2 million, but the civilian employment participation rate in a growing population dropped to 63.9 percent, which continues a long-term decline that has accelerated over the last few years.

In August, the unemployment rate for adult men was at 8.9 percent, adult women at 8.0 percent, whites at 8.0 percent, African Americans at 16.7 percent and Hispanics at 11.3 percent. The rates were little changed in August.

Roughly 2.6 million people were “marginally attached” to the labor force in August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier.

Speaker Boehner has urged the president to use his Sept. 8 speech to a joint session of Congress to push for pro-growth policies.

“Republicans are listening and focusing on removing barriers to job growth, whether it’s eliminating unnecessary regulations that drive up prices or stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have,” read his statement. “I’m hopeful the White House will take this opportunity to work with us to end the uncertainty facing families and small businesses, and create a better environment for long-term economic growth and private-sector job creation.”

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