The U.S. economy lost tens of thousands of jobs in September, and the unemployment rate stayed at a high level. There are nearly 15 million Americans out of work and millions more seeking better jobs.
The U.S. unemployment rate stayed at 9.6 percent in September, while the overall economy had a net loss of 95,000 jobs.
Friday's report from the Labor Department says governments shed 159,000 jobs, including many state and local workers. At the same time, private employers added 64,000 jobs.
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U.S. President Barack Obama says private sector job growth is moving the economy in the right direction, but the government needs to help state and local governments keep workers like teachers and police who provide vital services. "We have to keep doing everything we can to help accelerate this recovery. Yes, the trendline in private sector job growth is moving in the right direction, but I'm not interested in trends or figures, as much as I am interested in the people behind them, the millions of hard-working Americans swept up in the most devastating recession of our lifetimes," he said.
Speaking at a small business in Maryland, Mr. Obama said he has been working to make loans and tax breaks available to small businesses because they are usually a prime source of new jobs.
This is the last report on unemployment before November's congressional elections, where the economy is a key issue.
High unemployment is making many voters angry, and that is likely to bolster the chances that opposition Republicans will take seats in Congress away from President Obama's Democratic Party.
Government experts say there are 14.8 million Americans out of work and 9.5 million more who are working only part-time but want full-time employment.
They also say it is taking an unusually long time for people to find new work, with nearly 42 percent of the unemployed out of a job for half a year or longer.