Employers added 103,000 jobs last month but the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1%, the Labor Department reported today.
The department said that 40,000 of the jobs reflected a return to work of striking Verizon employees. Of the 14 million unemployed people, 6.2 million had been without jobs for 27 weeks or more. The unemployment rate has been the same for the last three months and since April there have been an average of 72,000 new jobs added per month.
There were job gains in professional business services, health care and construction while government employment declined. The bleak economic news comes in the wake of a series of polls that a majority of Americans disapprove of the way President Obama has handled the economy and are concerned about the direction in which the country is going.
Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged the situation, and the threat it poses to President Obama’s reelection race, yesterday. "A significant majority of the American people believe that the country is not moving in the right direction," Biden said in an interview with David Gregory of NBC News at the Washington Ideas Forum. "That is never a good place to be going into reelection, whether it's your fault or not your fault. It's almost sometimes irrelevant."
At the same event, Biden criticized Bank of America for imposing a $5 per month fee for the use of debit cards He said that “at a minimum, they are incredibly tone deaf.” The bank started the fee because the Federal Reserve, after being mandated by Congress, placed on a cap on interchange fees that card issuers can charge retailers.