In the wake of the Labor Department’s report today that the official unemployment rate had ticked upwards to 7.9 percent, the US Chamber of Commerce issued the following statement:

The 171,000 net new jobs created last month were unanticipated, but we shouldn’t be fooled by this number. The pace of our economic recovery remains far too slow to reemploy the millions who remain unemployed or underemployed. The number of discouraged workers rose, and for people remaining in the workforce average hourly earnings went down. This rate of job growth will not drive the economy forward or put more Americans back to work.

Congress should act now to address the fiscal cliff, as we are already seeing uncertainty over the potential looming tax increases depress economic activity. Congress should also work to address our long-term fiscal problems through tax and entitlement reform, and by getting our debt and deficits under control.