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Jobs Report for August Gives Mixed Reading for U.S. Economy

September 3, 2010 at 5:35 PM EDT
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The August jobs report released Friday showed that the private sector added 67,000 jobs but jobless numbers still remain grim with the U.S. unemployment rate rising slightly to 9.6 percent. All the while, President Obama urges the public to be patient and insists his policies are working -- just slower than hoped.
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JIM LEHRER: The August jobs report turned out a mixed bag of results today. There were slight improvements in the private sector, but they were not enough to reduce overall unemployment.

Ray Suarez has our story.

RAY SUAREZ: More people found work in construction as the summer closed and in hospitals and other health care work. In all, private employers added 67,000 jobs, a modest gain, but better than expected.

At the same time, the public sector shed 121,000 positions, most of them temporary census jobs. The bottom line, a net loss of 54,000 jobs nationwide in August.

President Obama urged patience in the White House Rose Garden this morning.

U.S. PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Jobs are being created. They’re just not being created as fast as they need to, given the big hole that we experienced.

RAY SUAREZ: Indeed, some nine million jobs were lost in 2008 and 2009, and adding tens of thousands of jobs per month is just not enough to make up that deficit.

The Labor Department did raise its estimates for June and July today. It meant private business added 235,000 jobs this summer. But, as economist Lisa Lynch told the NewsHour last month, that’s the kind of number needed each month.

LISA LYNCH, Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandies University: What we really need to see out of the private sector is month after month of 200,000 or more jobs.

RAY SUAREZ: As it is, the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.6 percent in August, as more people came off the sidelines and began looking for work. The rate has been near or above 10 percent for more than a year. All told, nearly 15 million Americans are unemployed. And the underemployment rate is now 16.7 percent, including the unemployed, those who have stopped looking for work, and part-timers. That comes to more than 26 million Americans.

The jobless rate promises to be a prominent issue in the upcoming midterm congressional races. Today, House Republican Leader John Boehner insisted, things won’t get better under the president’s policies. He said in a statement, “We will not solve our fiscal challenges until we cut spending and have real economic growth, and we won’t have real economic growth if we keep raising taxes on small businesses.”

BARACK OBAMA: Thank you very much, everybody.

RAY SUAREZ: Mr. Obama renewed his call for a small business tax cut, and he again blamed Republicans in the Senate for blocking it.