The U.S. economy added 103,000 jobs in September, but the nation's unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent for the third straight month. Although September's job growth was stronger than most economists were expecting, it is still not growing fast enough for the millions of Americans looking for work.
In many U.S. cities, frustration over the scarcity of jobs is spilling out into the streets in the form of protests, like the "Jobs Not Cuts" rally in Washington.
Many, including rapper Godfrey James, say lawmakers are not doing enough to help unemployed Americans.
"Cause it's another dark night when the U.S. is needing light," said James. "Tell me is it fair? We got workers rights in the air, and the Congress hasn't put one jobs bill there."
Experts say hiring is likely to remain weak for the remainder of the year as companies wait for the economy to improve.
But rally organizer Shannon Mcleish says corporations are sitting on piles of cash while the rest of America struggles to make ends meet.
"Yes, jobless numbers, poverty, unemployment, homelessness, health issues, no health insurance, you can trace it all back to the greed and the misinformation that has been propagated through our media," said Mcleish.
In New York, where the "Occupy Wall Street" movement appears to be gaining momentum, activists say the richest one percent own most of the country's wealth.
"I feel like the middle class has been almost completely wiped out now. Now, you have got the bottom class and the top class," said one protester.
All told, about 14 million Americans are unemployed, nearly 40 percent have been out of work for more than six months.
This single mother says finding a decent job is even harder for women and minorities.
"It's pretty discouraging, there's, it's also difficult especially for women to find flexible part time work where they can also take care of their children, that's a whole other issue," she said.
President Barack Obama, who is running for re-election next year, is pressuring Congress to pass a $450 billion job creation plan. Republicans, who see the economy as the president's weakness, have blocked many of his initiatives and are unlikely to approve the package of tax cuts and public spending.
But small business owner Dave Finnegan says Americans need to remind politicians who's really in charge.
"This is how things get done," said Finnegan. "That building, the Capitol building is only a place where they vote on stuff, it's not a place where things originate. Things originate with people in the street. This is a democracy and it has to start here."
While better than expected job numbers last month have helped calm fears of a new recession, the nation's chronic high unemployment is expected to be a major issue in 2012. And as the election draws near, analysts say the weak economy is likely to fuel more rallies.