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The U.S. jobless rate remained at or above 9 percent for most of the year, a nagging issue for the economy. The unemployment rate for blacks (15.5 percent in November) is more than double that of whites (7.6 percent). Job growth has not been high enough to deal with a backlog of more than 13 million unemployed workers. Some of those who were hiring went so far as to prohibit the unemployed from applying, stirring a backlash.
In this photo, Karen Carlson of Prudential looks at resumes as hundreds of job seekers attend the National Career Fair at Tinley Park on Sep. 28, 2011.