Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis issued the following statement on the October 2010 Employment Situation report released Friday:

"This past October, nonfarm payroll employment increased by 151,000 jobs, with 159,000 jobs added in the private sector. The unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.6 percent.

"One year ago, I reported an unemployment rate of 10.1 percent — the highest rate we had seen since 1983. Since then, the actions taken by the Obama administration have lowered unemployment by half a point, reflecting in more than 1.1 million jobs created in the private sector this year.

"While the economy continues to grow, there is more work that needs to be done to get Americans back to work. Everyone agrees on the problem. Both parties must now come together to solve it.

"With millions of Americans still looking for work, now is not the time to cut key safety net programs like Unemployment Insurance. The Emergency Unemployment Compensation program is set to expire at the end of November. If that happens, 2 million people will lose benefits in December and 6 million by the end of next year.

"While we are on the path of job creation, we cannot forget the millions of Americans who, through no fault of their own, are still unemployed and looking for work. Safety net programs like the Unemployment Insurance program have long been known to be a cost-effective way of keeping families afloat during difficult economic periods, while also serving to boost the overall economy.

"With nearly five job seekers for every job opening, many people will necessarily have to rely on the Unemployment Insurance system until the economy returns to pre-recession levels. We should not allow Americans to suffer when they have done nothing wrong.

"Making progress on the very serious problems facing this country will require everyone to put politics aside and work together to continue to create jobs, grow the economy and provide temporary help to those who are looking for work. I look forward to playing a constructive role in that process."