As has become our habit every month, I would like to share an update with you about our economy and what can be done about it. Today's employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. We lost more than 8 million jobs as a result of the Great Recession. Since the President has taken office, we have seen private sector jobs increase for 32 straight months, adding 5.4 million private sector jobs during that time period.
I remain committed to working together with my colleagues across the aisle to extend unemployment insurance benefits, payroll tax cuts, and infrastructure investments to help the middle class in the Fifth District and across the country. From the American Jobs Act to the Farm Bill, there are plenty of things we in Congress can do to help spur the economy and create jobs. If Congress could come together to pass the entire American Jobs Act, which includes further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation's ports, roads and highways, and assistance to state and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders, then we could create more than a million jobs. This month, I am back in Missouri's Fifth District as Congress is in recess now. But I am ready to work together again, and soon, to address high poverty rates, a depressed housing market, and large household debt burdens experienced by all too many. Most of all, we must create jobs, restore confidence in our economy, and rebuild the middle-class.
According to the Labor Department's most recent report, private employers added 184,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate inched up to 7.9 percent, largely because more people entered the labor force. The number of people with jobs surged by 578,000 in October. Plus, in looking back at previous numbers, the Labor Department determined that the economy created 84,000 more jobs in previous months than they first estimated.
As you know better than anyone, there is more work that remains to be done. Long-term unemployment is still a problem, with 40 percent of the unemployed still looking for a job for more than six months. And the broader unemployment rate, known as the U-6 figure, decreased only slightly to 14.6 percent in October. This is unacceptable. I will continue to focus my efforts on creating jobs and keeping our economy moving in the right direction. It is what is necessary -- and what is right for the people of Missouri's Fifth District.