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Unemployment Rises, but Economy Isn't Falling

As weak as the job numbers were, they were better than Wall Street expected - and seemed to give investors confidence the economy can avoid a double dip recession.

With American businesses creating 67,000 jobs in August, the private sector has now added jobs for eight consecutive months, reports CBS Evening News senior business correspondent Anthony Mason.

These numbers are telling us the economy is not falling off a cliff," chief economist of MKM Partners, Michael Darda. "It's not booming either, which is the bad news."

But the median length of unemployment fell below 29 weeks in Aug. It had been 22.2 weeks in July.

An additional 19,000 construction jobs were added last month, and 17,000 temporary jobs. Nearly 400,000 temporary jobs have been added over the past year as employers have remained cautious.

"There is great uncertainty in the economy right now," said Daniel Herrick, CFO of Pilla Performance Eyewear in Conn.

A year ago, his company had five employees. Today it has 18.

"Almost all our expansion over the past year has been with temporary employees," said Herrick.

But that still means work for Luisa Olah.

"And I'm still pinching myself," said Olah.

After two years of looking, she finally landed a temporary job as a bookkeeper.

"For the first time in two years I didn't have to call unemployment," said Olah. "I didn't have to get online at 5 in the morning with unemployment. It was wonderful."

But it could be a while before others share that feeling, said Darda.

"We're gonna need 200 to 250,000 jobs on a monthly basis for a sustained period of time to get back to anything that looks like full employment. And that is years away."

Meanwhile, the so-called "underemployment" rate, which includes those who've been forced to take part-time work and those who have given up looking - rose again in Aug. to 16.7 percent.
  • Anthony Mason

    CBS News senior business and economics correspondent; Co-host, "CBS This Morning: Saturday"