WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Olympia J. Snowe (R-Maine) today released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor announced the unemployment rate for the month of September remained unchanged at 9.6 percent. According to the Department of Labor, nonfarm employment shed 95,000 jobs and the total number of unemployed Americans stands at 14.8 million, with long-term unemployment (over 27 weeks) at 6.1 million.

“Today’s unemployment numbers are a disappointing reminder of the anemic, if not stagnant economic growth that has resulted from this majority’s continued reluctance to focus like a laser on a pro-jobs, pro-growth agenda to put America’s hardworking families and entrepreneurs back to work.  Instead, their focus on job-killing tax increases and burdensome federal mandates have only perpetuated record unemployment rates, which are hovering at 9.5 percent or higher.

“Nothing illustrates the impact of pervasive economic uncertainty, exacerbated by partisan divide in Washington, better than the 95,000 jobs lost last month alone.  Rather than insisting on job creation as ‘job one’ before adjourning, this majority refused to address both the looming tax hike upon the expiration of the tax rates enacted in 2001 and 2003 and the onerous reporting requirements that will force employers to file ‘1099’ statements on all transactions over $600. As the Ranking Member of the Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship and a senior member of the Finance Committee, which writes tax law, I repeatedly called on committee leaders to act immediately to address these issues and warned if we did not move quickly, small businesses would continue to be devastated by uncertainty and refrain from adding jobs or buying machinery and equipment, stifling job creation and slowing economic recovery.

“While my concerns, and the concerns of millions of families and small business owners may have fallen on deaf ears prior to Congress’ adjournment, I will continue to fight alongside colleagues from both sides of the aisle to ensure we stop the tax increases and repeal the devastating policies that will drive unemployment higher and prolong economic stagnation indefinitely– so that our nation’s small businesses have an environment to expand and thrive, and so that Americans can get back to work.”