US Jobless Rate Rises Slightly; Job Creation Weaker Than Expected

Posted June 1st, 2012 at 11:25 am (UTC-5)
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The U.S. unemployment rate increased slightly during May, rising by one-tenth of a percentage point to 8.2 percent.

Friday's report from the Labor Department said the U.S. economy had a net gain of just 69,000 jobs during the month – the smallest in a year.

Government data says 12.7 million Americans are unemployed, with four out of ten of them unable to find work for 27 weeks or more.

Economists say job gains are needed to give consumers the confidence they need to make purchases, and to encourage businesses to make investments that lead to new hiring.

Republicans blamed President Barack Obama's policies for weak economic growth. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney said the administration's approach has “failed” and “is crushing the middle class.”

The chairman of the president's Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger, said the economy has gained non-government jobs every month for more than two years, recovering about half of the positions lost during the recession. He urged Congress to approve Mr. Obama's program for bolstering growth, which includes tax breaks for small businesses that hire new people and streamlined procedures for homeowners who need to refinance their mortgages.