The unemployment rate climbed a tenth of a percentage point to 9.2 percent after employers added only 18,000 jobs in June, the lowest level in nine months.

The private sector added 57,000 jobs, but that number was offset by losses in government jobs.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that since March, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 545,000, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.4 percentage point.

After gains averaging 215,000 per month from February through April, employment has remained essentially flat for the past two months, according to the Labor Department. Employment in most major private-sector industries changed little in June, while government employment continued to trend down.

Within professional and business services, employment in professional and technical services increased in June, with 24,000 jobs added. This industry has added 245,000 jobs since a recent low in March 2010.

“Washington must focus on pro-growth job creating policies that will get people back to work—like comprehensive tax reform and increasing America’s exports,” said House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp, R-Mich.

“Today’s report underscores the need for bipartisan action to help the private sector and the economy grow—such as measures to extend the payroll tax cut, pass the pending free trade agreements, and create an infrastructure bank to help put Americans back to work,” said Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “It also underscores the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that instills confidence and allows us to live within our means without shortchanging future growth.”

Sectors with employment increases included leisure and hospitality (+34,000), health care (+13,500), and manufacturing (+6,000), he noted. Sectors with employment declines included government (-39,000), financial activities (-15,000), and construction (-9,000).  Manufacturing has added 251,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade. Meanwhile, local governments lost 18,000 jobs in June and have shed 355,000 jobs since the start of 2010.

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