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WASHINGTON  — U.S. employers added 103,000 jobs in September, a modest burst of hiring after a sluggish summer.

Still, job growth remains too weak to lower the unemployment rate, which stayed at 9.1 percent for the third straight month.

African American unemployment dropped from 16.7 percent to 16 percent and black teen joblessness dipped slightly from 46.5 to 44.2 percent.

The Labor Department also revised the previous two months to show that companies hired at a better pace than first estimated.

Nearly half of the gains last month occurred because 45,000 striking Verizon workers returned to their jobs.

Employers have added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the past five months. The economy must create twice as many just to keep up with population growth.

The jobs crisis has intensified a debate in Washington 13 months before President Barack Obama will run for re-election.

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