The national unemployment rate climbed to a seven-month high in November, according to the latest Labor Department report.
The jobless rate rose to 9.8 percent last month, up from 9.6 percent in October. The unemployment figure has now exceeded 9 percent for 19 consecutive months, which is the longest period of that rate on record.
The Labor Department reports that the U.S. economy added just 39,000 jobs last month. Analysts estimate that approximately 200,000 to 300,000 jobs per month would have to be added in order to bring down the unemployment rate.
According to media reports, Vice President Joe Biden said that the report is disappointing. He believes the bleak job numbers reinforce why Senate Republicans should agree to extend certain unemployment benefits for Americans.
Republicans, however, believe that the jobless rate gives new urgency to the need for tax-break extensions.
"Today's heartbreaking unemployment report should be yet another wake-up call to Democrats that raising taxes in the middle of the worst economy in 25 years is a mistake," Representative Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said in a statement, quoted by The Wall Street Journal.
Republicans want to extend the Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire on Dec. 31, for all Americans, while most Democrats say that families earning more than $250,000 per year should be excluded from the extensions.