Unemployment Holds at 9.1%

Economy needs to add even more jobs to keep up with population growth
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 7, 2011 7:56 AM CDT

(Newser) – Employers added 103,000 jobs in September, a modest burst of hiring after a sluggish summer, but the unemployment rate stayed at 9.1% for the third straight month. Nearly half of the gains last month occurred because 45,000 striking Verizon workers returned to their jobs. The private sector added 137,000 jobs; government shed 34,000 jobs as local governments cut teachers and other school employees. Employers have added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the past five months; the economy must create twice as many just to keep up with population growth.

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In slightly better news, the Labor Department also revised the previous two months to show that companies hired at a better pace than first estimated. The Wall Street Journal notes that stock futures headed higher after the report. Jonathan Cheng observes, "private-sector hiring is the star of this report, suggesting that companies perhaps haven't been as cautious as everyone has made them out to be." (Read more unemployment stories.)

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