Washington (CNN) – The Obama administration painted a stark picture of unemployment Friday both on television and the internet following the Labor Department release of employment numbers reflecting no gain in jobs for the month of August.
"Clearly, faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn," said Katharine Abraham, a member of the president's Council of Economic Advisers.
Overall payroll employment remained flat and unemployment stayed static at 9.1 percent. But employment increases in health care, social assistance, professional and business services were offset by employment declines in construction, information, manufacturing, and local government sectors. Loss numbers included striking works at telecom giant Verizon.
Still, Abraham cautioned, "Monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision…as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report."
In an interview on CNN's Newsroom, Labor Sec. Hilda Solis turned to straight talk. "Forget the childish play. Forget the politics. Let's put people back to work," she said.
She echoed recommendations from the White House blog to improve the jobs picture and explained proposals the department is considering.
"Let's do some of the things that we know have already paid off – extension of the payroll tax; infrastructure dollars that will put construction and people who are in trades and industry back to work and also help to extend support for long term unemployed," Solis argued.
"We look at extending tax cuts for the middle class for people who work and also for businesses so that they'll be encouraged to hire more people. We are looking at also extending that safety net for those people who have experienced long term unemployment as well as infrastructure development. We hear it from mayors who are saying if we could get money into infrastructure right now we could help create millions of jobs."