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U.S. jobless rate unchanged in August; no net jobs added

  • In this photo taken Aug. 31, 2011, job seekers fill out paperwork on the top of a trash barrel at a job fair called the "For The People Jobs Initiative," where job seekers met employers, job counselors, skills trainers and others, at Crenshaw Christian Center in South Los Angeles. Employers added no net workers last month and the unemployment rate was unchanged, a sign that many were nervous the U.S. economy is at risk of slipping into another recession. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

WASHINGTON — Employers added no jobs in August — an alarming setback for the economy that renewed fears of another recession and raised pressure on Washington to end the hiring standstill.

Worries flared Friday after the release of the worst jobs report since September 2010. Total payrolls were unchanged, the first time since 1945 that the government reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent.

The dismal news two day before Labor Day sent stocks plunging. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 253 points, or more than 2 percent.

Analysts say the economy cannot continue to expand unless hiring picks up. In the first six months of 2011, growth was measured at an annual rate of 0.7 percent.

Companies are mostly keeping their payrolls intact. They're not laying off many workers. But they're not hiring, either. Without more jobs to fuel consumer spending, economists say another recession would be inevitable. Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of economic growth.


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