The U.S. Labor Department reported unemployment rose to 9.7 percent during the month of August from 9.4 percent, the highest unemployment rate in 26 years. “Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in August (-216,000),” the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported September 4, making a total of 6.9 million jobs lost in the recession since December 2007.

unemploymentThe real number of unemployed in the United States is far more than the federal government’s official count and the recovery could be long and tenuous, a Federal Reserve official told the Chattanooga, Tennessee, Area Chamber of Commerce last week in a speech that received some media attention.

cellphoneThe Federal Communications Commission is launching an investigation of the nation’s wireless industry to root out any anti-competitive practices and to decide what regulations should be imposed for the supposed benefit of consumers, Wired reported on August 27.

cash for clunkersLike one of the old jalopies it is supposed to remove from the road, the $3-billion cash-for-clunkers program sputtered to a close on August 24. The allegedly successful boost to the economy left in its wake “a nightmare of red tape and computer glitches for dealers who are owed millions of dollars by the government,” the Los Angeles Times reported on August 25.

Department of EnergyLast week, the Obama administration revealed the 48 recipients of $2.4 billion in federal grant money supposedly designed to stimulate domestic production of batteries and other "green" car components while saving or creating jobs. But critics are already blasting the handouts, calling them politically biased, useless, and even unconstitutional.