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As the nation’s largest peacetime jobs program – the U.S. Census 2010 effort – winds down and its temporary workforce continues to join the ranks of the unemployed, a growth in private sector jobs was not enough to keep the unemployment rate from climbing slightly – one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.6 percent – in August.

The hardest hit group of workers – African-American men – were hit hardest again. Their unemployment rate is 17.3 percent, up from 16.7 percent, nearly double the 8.9 percent unemployment rate for white men.

Women of both races fared better – 7.1 percent unemployment for whites, 13.2 percent unemployment for African Americans.

“Jobs are being created. They’re just not being created as fast as they need to,” President Barack Obama told reporters on Friday.

Christina Romer, the chair of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers, said the employment report released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday was “better than expected.” Private sector payrolls increased by 67,000 in August – the eighth consecutive month of private sector job growth. Since last December, private sector employment has risen by 763,000.

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Black women see consecutive unemployment decrease in June

Unemployment affects three out of four Americans