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Obama: Job Creation "Needs to Come Faster"

President Barack Obama is hailing the seventh straight month of private job creation as a good sign for the economy. But he says the progress "needs to come faster."

The president spoke at Gelberg Signs, a small business in Washington, D.C., that is expanding and hiring workers.

His comments came as a new jobs report out Friday shows companies lacked strong confidence in hiring for a third straight month.

The unemployment rate was stuck at 9.5 percent, and private employers added a net total of only 71,000 jobs.

Obama says the country is now consistently adding jobs instead of losing them in huge numbers. He said that for workers, the progress must be accelerated. He called on Congress to take more steps to help businesses.

The modest July employment gains were even weaker when considering a loss of government jobs at the local, state and federal levels in July that weren't temporary census positions. Factoring those in, the net gains were only 12,000 jobs, according to the Labor Department's July report Friday.

Investors reacted by selling stocks and shifting into more conservative Treasury bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which helps set rates on mortgages and other consumer loans, fell to 2.85 percent from 2.91 percent late Thursday. Major stock indexes all fell.

The department also sharply revised down its jobs figures for June, saying businesses hired fewer workers than previously estimated. June's private-sector job gains were lowered to 31,000 from 83,000. May's were raised slightly to show 51,000 net new jobs, from 33,000.

Overall, the economy lost a net total of 131,000 jobs last month, mostly because 143,000 temporary census jobs ended.

Christina Romer, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers said in a White House blog post that the job growth reflected "important variation in employment growth across industries."

"Employment in manufacturing as well as education and health services increased, while that in financial services and construction decreased," Romer said. "Employment in state and local government, including public school teachers, decreased 48,000, underscoring the importance of the additional state fiscal relief working its way through Congress."

The slow pace of hiring will weigh on the recovery, he said, with economic growth in the current quarter likely to come in even lower than the April-to-June quarter's already weak 2.4 percent.

The "underemployment" rate was the same as in June, at 16.5 percent. That includes those working part time who would prefer full-time work and unemployed workers who've given up on their job hunts.

All told, there were 14.6 million people looking for work in July. That's roughly double the figure in December 2007, when the recession began.

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