The nation's unemployment rate climbed to 9.8 percent in November, a seven-month high, as hiring slowed.Can we still blame Bush for this?
Employers added only 39,000 jobs last month, a sharp decline from the 172,000 created in October, the Labor Department reported Friday. The weakness was widespread. Retailers, factories, construction companies, financial firms and the government all cut jobs last month.
Many economists were predicting the addition of nearly 150,000 jobs. The economy has recently flashed signs of gaining momentum with busier factories, rising auto sales and a good start to the holiday shopping season. But that didn't translate into mass hiring in November.
In fact, private companies -- the backbone of the economy -- created 50,000 jobs. That was down significantly from the 160,000 private-sector jobs created in October and was the smallest gain since January.
With hiring so weak, the unemployment rate rose from 9.6 percent to 9.8 percent. The jobless rate has now topped 9 percent for 19 straight months, the longest stretch on record.
This would really be a good time for the Obama tax hikes to kick in.