The unemployment rate soared to 9.5 percent in June, a 26-year high, and up a fraction from 9.4 percent in May. The Department of Labor said 467,000 jobs were lost in June.

Also grim was the news about the long term unemployed. The number of those who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more increased by 433,000 last month to 4.4 million. That is an increase of more than 100,000 over the job loss in May.

June was the 18th straight month of job loss, with 6.5 million jobs lost since the start of the recession in December, 2007.

The official figure of 14.7 million unemployed does not reflect the real figures.

The AFL-CIO says that when the underemployed and those who want jobs but have given up looking are counted, the U.S. unemployment rate stands at 25 million or 16.8 percent. Even that figure does not include millions of first time job seekers who never found work.

According to the Economic Policy Institute, the recession has erased the entire growth in jobs over the past nine years – the economy currently has fewer jobs than it had in May, 2000. The workforce, however, has grown by 12.5 million since then.

“This is the only recession since the Great Depression to wipe out all jobs growth from the previous business cycle,” said EPI economist Heidi Shierholz. “This is a devastating benchmark for the workers of this country and a testament to both the enormity of the current crisis and to the extreme weakness of job growth from 2000-2007.”

President Obama is expected to speak this afternoon on the topic of jobs and the economy when he emerges from a meeting with business leaders.

Republican leaders, meanwhile, have been jumping all over the job news in a cynical attempt to gain political advantage.

RNC Chairman, Michael Steele, said the figures “prove that the stimulus package is not a Recovery Act.” He called for “real world, free market solutions.”

House Minority Whip Eric Cantor castigated Democrats for not backing the “substantive Republican agenda that put jobs first.”

House Minority Leader John Boehner released a Web video that asks, “Where are the Jobs?”

Eddie Vale, a spokesman for the AFL-CIO, said, “It’s pretty ironic that Republicans first opposed the stimulus. Some only came along to back it after it was made smaller than what the Democrats and the unions wanted it to be. Now they are complaining that it isn’t creating enough jobs.!”

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