WASHINGTON -- Analysts have reasons to hope companies will start hiring again soon as a new government report showed the jobless rate fell to 10 percent.
It's the direction Americans want to see the unemployment rate moving, but "good trends," President Barack Obama said Friday "don't pay the rent."
In fact, despite the economic growth that is expected in the next few months, analysts say unemployment may actually rise in the New Year.
That is because the 15.7 million Americans currently out of work will have to compete with another 11.7 million of so-called "underemployed" workers. Those are people working fewer hours than they would like.
The number of part-time workers who would like full-time work has risen to more than 9 million. Another 2.4 million would like a job, but have given up looking.
Consequently, analysts said it could take years for the economy to generate enough jobs for everyone who wants one.
To assess the damage, the president traveled to Allentown, Pa. to meet with workers and business owners who've been affected by the recession.
"We've still got a long way to go," the president said. "I consider one job lost one job too many."
Meanwhile, back in Washington House Minority Leader John Bohner, R-Ohio, says the president's policies are to blame for unemployment.
"When you look at the cap and trade and all the new taxes and all the new costs and all the new regulations it scares employers to no end," Boehner said.
There is already talk among Democratic lawmakers of extending unemployment benefits that could cost $100 billion.
However, the president says real recovery depends on the private sector investing in its businesses and employees.
"I wanna be clear. While I believe that government has a critical role in creating the conditions for economic growth, ultimately true economic recovery is only going to come from the private sector," Obama told business leaders at Thursday's jobs summit.
But the private sector is always skittish coming out of a recession and likely will not re-hire workers until it is confident growth is sustainable.
The president is expected to announce what he wants to do to create that confidence in a major speech early next week.