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.

cash for clunkersItem: The National Public Radio news blog, “The Two-Way,” reported on August 7: “The relatively good news that the unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.4 percent in July had President Barack Obama claiming credit for his administration for stabilizing the economy.” The president was quoted saying, in part: “Today, we’re pointed in the right direction…. We’ve rescued our economy from catastrophe.”

Ron PaulAt a town hall meeting held in his Massachusetts district, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank provided a surprising response to a constituent’s inquiry about H.R. 1207, Rep. Ron Paul's bill calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve.

economyNews stories on August 19 reported that Neil Barofsky, Special Inspector General (SIG) of the U.S. treasury Department’s $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP), had agreed to audit the $301 billion of federal asset guarantees extended to Citigroup Inc. since last November.

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.