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Unemployment Rises to 9.8%, Job Creation Disappoints In November

Private businesses created just 39,000 new jobs in November, and the number of people working fell by 179,000, sending the U.S. unemployment rate to 9.8 percent, up from 9.6 percent for the preceding three months. Economists were expecting about 150,000 new jobs, as many as we saw for October, so the figure is sure to disappoint the stock market. But the news may send a signal to Congress that the recovery is still fragile, and needs assistance such as the extension of long-term unemployment benefits.

The number of people unemployed nudged back over 15 million, rising by 276,000. The broad unemployment rate, which includes people forced to work part-time stayed at 17.0 percent, but the number of such part-timers rose by 185,000 to almost 18 million. That's 11.7 percent of the labor force working part-time because they have to.

Jobs fell in manufacturing and construction industries by 15,000 and in government by 11,000 -- no surprise there, unfortunately. In services industries, where job gains have been pretty steady this year, increases were reported by the usual suspects of health care and temporary services. Retail, however, one of the few bright spots, gave back 28,000 jobs, equal to twice the gain in October.

People out of work for more than 27 weeks make up 42 percent of the total unemployed. A question for the President and Congress: Is this really the time to cut off people's unemployment checks? There are a lot of stores, and landlords, and communities that get paid from those benefits.