Job Growth Grinds to Halt as Unemployment Rate Stays at 9.1%

Friday, 02 Sep 2011 08:34 AM

Employment in the U.S. unexpectedly stagnated in August as employers became less confident in the strength of the recovery. The jobless rate held at 9.1 percent.

Payrolls were unchanged last month, the weakest reading since September 2010, after an 85,000 gain in July that was smaller than initially estimated, the Labor Department said today in Washington. The median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey called for a gain of 68,000. The August figures included a 48,000 drop in information industry jobs, mostly reflecting striking Verizon Communications Inc. workers.

It was the first time since World War II that the economy had a net zero jobs created for a month, CNBC reported.

Stocks slumped and Treasurys rallied on bets the data raise the odds of another recession. The report increases pressure on Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke and President Barack Obama, who is due to give a speech next week on measures to create jobs, to spur an economy that’s barely growing two years after the recovery began.

“This is further evidence that the economy is very close to stalling if not having stalled,