During a tour of Ernest Maier Block in Maryland, President Obama discussed the recently released September 2010 unemployment data. Although private sector job growth declined from the previous month’s figures and there was a net loss of jobs, the president had time for a little joke.

“These are the guys that build serious stuff –- concrete blocks, bricks for walls that are thick, difficult to move, and can stop anything in their path -- sort of like the way I feel about Congress sometimes.”

While the President did take a minute to joke about the roadblocks he has faced time and time again this year, he was serious about the nation’s unemployment issues. The net loss in jobs is the result of an increase in layoffs in the government sector. Only a portion of the job losses were due to temporary Census 2010 positions coming to an end, the rest were a direct result of today’s rough economy.

“I should point out that these continuing layoffs by state and local governments -- of teachers and police officers and firefighters and the like -- would have been even worse without the federal help that we’ve provided to states over the last 20 months –- help that the Republicans in Congress have consistently opposed. I think the Republican position doesn’t make much sense, especially since the weakness in public sector employment is a drag on the private sector as well. So we need to continue to explore ways that we can help states and local governments maintain workers who provide vital services.”

President Obama points to the newly signed Small Business Jobs Act as one way that the government is helping build up the nation’s economy. In the nearly two weeks since the Small Business Jobs Act was signed, more than $1 billion in new loans have made their way to over 2,000 small business owners. These loans are helping businesses invest in capital so they can hire more employees. Perhaps the October 2010 unemployment data will paint a prettier picture when the numbers are released in a few weeks.

Photo: The White House/Flickr

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