Jobless Rate Remains at 9.7%

The nation’s unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7%, the Labor Department announced Friday. While employers added 162,000 jobs to their payrolls, over half of the jobs were Census workers or other temporary jobs.

The 2010 Census accounted for 48,000 of the new jobs—which will be lost later this year. Another 40,000 of the new jobs were also temporary positions.

A survey earlier this week by the Gallup polling organization said that underemployment—which includes part-time workers who want full-time jobs—rose to 20.3% in March, up from 19.8% in February.

House Republican Study Committee Chairman Tom Price (R-Ga.) said the new report is more evidence that the Obama’s Administration’s economic stimulus package passed last year is not working.

“We have still yet to see the robust private-sector job creation the Obama Administration promised would come from its $862 billion failed stimulus,” said Rep. Price. “This administration has spent more than a year trying to grow the economy by expanding government, even though history shows that strong and sustainable economic growth must begin in the private sector.”

Price said Obama’s policies are making the job climate worse. “Our job creators, particularly small businesses, are staring at a litany of tax increases, new government mandates, and onerous regulations, all of which threatens to derail their plans for the future,” Price said.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Tex.), the top House Republican on the Joint Economic Committee, told HUMAN EVENTS that the temporary Census hiring skewed the latest unemployment numbers.

“I think it’s important in this economy to understand what’s driving these numbers,” Brady said. “They’ll be significantly distorted by the Census hiring part-time Census workers who are joining the work force in March, April and May. They’ll be later laid off. Each one lasts about eight weeks.”

Economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires were expecting payrolls to rise by an even higher 200,000. The U.S. economy has lost nearly 8.5 million jobs as a result of the recession.

The report indicated modest job growth in the manufacturing sector — gaining 17,000 jobs, and in construction — with 15,000 jobs added in March. The biggest increase came in government employment, which rose by 39,000 workers.