Unemployment nudges up to 7.9 percent

Neil Munro White House Correspondent
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Only 157,000 new jobs were created in January, and the jobless rate nudged up to 7.9 percent, according to the latest report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The increased unemployment rate, judged to be “essentially unchanged” by the Bureau of Labor Standards, reflects a stalled economy, which actually contracted 0.1 percent during the last three months of 2012.

The extra 157,000 jobs keeps pace with the arrival of new graduates and new immigrants in a nation of 310 million.

The disappointing numbers drew jeers from GOP sources.

“Obama in his inaugural speech: ‘an economic recovery has begun.’ This week, GDP dropped and unemployment rate went up,” said a 9:08 a.m. tweet from the National Republic Conference Committee.

“If govt spending caused economic growth as POTUS believes, economy today should be booming, unemployment plummeting,” said a 9:10 a.m. tweet from House Speaker Rep. John Boehner’s office.

Since 2009, President Barack Obama has spurred the economy with $5 trillion in new spending, but the unemployment rate has remained unchanged since 2009.

The monthly report also said that “manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in January and has changed little… since July 2012,” belying the administration’s repeated claims to have rejuvenated the manufacturing sector with support for the auto-manufacturing and green-energy industries.

The formal unemployment rate is 13.8 percent among Africans Americans and 9.7 percent among Hispanics. Among whites, the formal unemployment rate is 7.0 percent.

However, that rate only measures people who sought a job during the last four weeks.

Millions of additional Americans have temporarily or permanently giving up looking for jobs, or for full-time employment.

However, the report contained some good news for the White House.

Revised job-creation numbers suggest that the economy created 181,000 jobs per month in 2012.

“In last 35 months, we’ve created 6.1″ million jobs, said a 9:24 tweet from White House spokesman Jay Carney.

Obama has been in office for 48 months.

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