July’s Unemployment Remained 9.5 Percent

Americans are not finding jobs at a fast enough rate to steady the country's wobbly economy.

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Americans are not finding jobs at a fast enough rate to steady the country's wobbly economy, according to the latest unemployment figures released Friday.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.5% in July, the Department of Labor reported.

While the private sector added 71,000 jobs last month, most economists believe companies must add 200,000 jobs a month to significantly lower unemployment.

The economy lost 131,000 jobs due in part to the end of temporary positions with the Census Bureau.

The "underemployment" rate which includes people who want full-time work, but only work part time and people who have stopped looking for jobs also stayed the same from June at 16.5%.

In total, 14.6 million Americans were looking for work last month, double the amount from when the recession began at the end of 2007.

The Labor Department data shows more than 32% of those unemployed have been out of work for at least six months.

On Thursday, jobless claims hit a three-month high, rising to 479,000 for the week.

Fueling the sluggish economy is weak consumer spending numbers. A recent Thomson Reuters report showed retail sales climbed just 2.9% in July.

With people not spending money and temporary boosts like the government's stimulus money and unemployment extensions running out, employers have resorted to hiring temporary workers instead.

"People have a long worry list they're looking at," Ethan Harris, Bank of America Merrill Lynch's chief economist told the Associated Press.

More than 192,000 temporary jobs have been added this year.

"Businesses are taking the least committed way" to boost employment, Harris added.