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US Unemployment Rate Hits 9.2 Percent as Hiring Slows

Job seekers pack the aisles of a Career Fair at Cleveland State University (March 2011 file photo)
Job seekers pack the aisles of a Career Fair at Cleveland State University (March 2011 file photo)

The unemployment rate in the United States increased to 9.2 percent in June, the highest level this year.

Friday's report from the Labor Department showed that American employers added only 18,000 jobs in June, the smallest increase in nine months and another indication that the U.S. economy is still struggling to recover from a deep recession.

The June unemployment rate was one-tenth of a percentage point higher than the previous month and the highest since December of 2010.

Obama reacts

U.S. President Barack Obama said the new numbers confirm what many already know, that America still has a long way to go in turning its economy around.

Speaking to reporters in the White House Rose Garden, Obama said the challenges facing the economy during the past couple of months - which included high gas prices and natural disasters overseas affecting supply chains - were not created overnight and will not be solved overnight.

Obama said he remains committed to working with opposition Republican lawmakers in creating a bipartisan plan to reduce the government's huge budget deficit, while still investing in the country's future.

Republicans spending binge

Republican lawmakers called the new unemployment numbers "completely unacceptable," and blamed what they called a "federal spending binge" for continuing to hold back U.S. job creation.

Republicans and Democrats currently are negotiating about how to reduce the government's huge deficit. The White House wants to cut spending, while increasing revenue by cutting certain tax breaks. Republicans want to mainly cut spending and not raise taxes.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters.