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Jobless Rate Creeps Toward 10 Percent; White House Says More 'Bumps' Ahead

4 years ago
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The unemployment rate crept toward 10 percent in November and "more bumps in the road" are ahead, a top White House aide warned as the Labor Department reported that employers added only 39,000 new jobs last month.

"No question the report is disappointing," Vice President Joe Biden said Friday after the numbers came out. The jobless rate climbed to 9.8 percent, inching up from October's 9.6 percent and leaving 15.1 million Americans without work.

"An unemployment rate of 9.8 percent is unacceptably high and we need to achieve robust employment growth in order to recover from the deep losses that began over two years ago," said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. "Although the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past year, there will surely continue to be bumps in the road ahead, such as this."

The addition of 39,000 non-farm jobs was a disappointment when compared to the 172,000 positions added in October. But Goolsbee accentuated the positive: Private companies created 50,000 jobs (offset by losses in other sectors), continuing 11 straight months of employment growth. Overall trends over the past two months have been "encouraging," he said, but not strong enough to turn around the jobless figures.

In the short-term, Biden said it is imperative for Congress to extend emergency unemployment benefits, which expired for many job-seekers last month. "It must be done before they leave town," he said.

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