WASHINGTON (CN) – The U.S. unemployment rate rose to 9.6 percent in August, the Labor Department reported Friday, revealing a sluggish economic recovery. The unemployment rate has hovered around 9.5 to 9.7 percent from May through August.
Nationwide, 14.9 million Americans were jobless in August, the report said.
The U.S. economy lost 54,000 jobs in August. While private companies added 67,000 jobs, the government shed 121,000 jobs, largely due to the termination of 114,000 temporary census positions.
According to economists, adding jobs in the private sector is the biggest indicator for economic growth. Private companies have added 763,000 jobs so far this year, but the economy is still reeling from losing millions of jobs in 2008 and 2009.
The number of people jobless for six months or more fell by 323,000 in August, down to 6.2 million long-term unemployed, or 42 percent of the total unemployed.
In July, the unemployment rate was 9.5 percent, and the economy lost 54,000 jobs.
The health care industry added 28,000 jobs in August. The industry has added an average of 20,000 jobs a month this year. Temporary help services jobs were up by 17,000 and construction jobs were up by 19,000 in August.