A government report released Friday showed no job growth in August.
President Obama is scheduled to address a joint session of Congress Thursday night with his latest proposals on how to reduce the nation's stubborn 9.1% unemployment rate.
He faces numerous obstacles, including a glum economic outlook that has held employers back from hiring, public dissatisfaction with how he has handled the economy, and an uncooperative mood among congressional Republicans who have spoken openly of making him a one-term president.
At this point everyone in Washington realizes that high unemployment is probably Obama's greatest obstacle to re-election in 2012.
"Our nation faces unprecedented economic challenges, and millions of hardworking Americans continue to look for jobs," President Obama wrote in a letter to congressional leaders requesting time for the speech. "It is my intention to lay out a series of bipartisan proposals that the Congress can take immediately to continue to rebuild the American economy by strengthening small businesses, helping Americans get back to work, and putting more money in the paychecks of the middle class and working Americans, while still reducing our deficit and getting our fiscal house in order."
Jobs Picture BleakThe Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday was almost uniformly bad, with most categories either holding steady or getting worse.
Although private employers added 17,000 jobs, equal losses in the public sector, mainly from local governments meant that net job growth for August was zero - something that hasn't happened since World War II.