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Unemployment Rate Rises to 9.2 Percent, Hiring Comes to Near Standstill

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Tough economic recovery continues, as today's unemployment rate is bad news for the federal government and American workers, alike. Hiring slowed to a near-standstill last month, as employers added the fewest jobs in nine months and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent. Bloomberg has more:

U.S. employers added 18,000 workers in June...

The increase in payrolls followed a 25,000 gain that was less than half the rise initially estimated, Labor Department data showed today in Washington. The median estimate in a Bloomberg News survey called for a June gain of 105,000...Hiring by companies, which excludes government agencies, was the weakest since May 2010.

With job growth remaining weak, earnings for June also stagnated. This, unfortunately, held consumer spending down, which accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy. And, after-tax incomes, adjusted for inflation, have been flat this year.

High gas prices and supply-chain disruptions stemming from the Japan crisis and the weak housing market have slowed the economy.

The state of affairs is certainly an anxious one for those seeking employment. Businesses added the fewest jobs in more than a year and governments cut 39,000 jobs. Hiring has slowed sharply in the past two months. The economy added an average of 215,000 jobs per month in the previous three months.

This news comes as President Barack Obama's top political adviser David Plouffe claims that people will not base their 2012 vote on the unemployment rate. The Hill has more:

Ronald Reagan, another president Obama is sometimes compared with, was reelected in 1984 when unemployment was 7.2 percent. Obama isn’t likely to see a number that low.

Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody’s Analytics, predicts the nation will have added 110,000 jobs in total in June, with 125,000 added in the private sector. Hiring by the public sector will continue to fall.

The economy would have to add 350,000 jobs every month between now and December 2014 to get back to the pre-recession low of 5 percent unemployment, last seen in December 2007, according to the Economic Policy Institute (EPI).

While discussing the political ramifications of unemployment will likely be a fixture of the 2012 campaign season, there are very real faces -- and issues -- attached to these tough economic figures. This month's numbers are surely discouraging.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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