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Unemployment rate stays at 9.1 percent

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Employers added 103,000 jobs in September, a modest burst of hiring after a sluggish summer.

Nearly half of the gains last month occurred because 45,000 striking Verizon workers returned to their jobs.

Still, job growth remains too weak to lower the unemployment rate, which stayed at 9.1 percent for the third straight month.

The Labor Department also revised the previous two months to show that companies hired at a better pace than first estimated.

Employers have added an average of only 72,000 jobs in the past five months. The economy must create twice as many just to keep up with population growth.

The jobs crisis has intensified a debate in Washington 13 months before President Barack Obama will run for re-election.