Jobless numbers stable as Senate extends unemployment benefits

The Senate voted earlier this week to extend unemployment benefits, allowing Sen. Jim Bunning to watch college basketball in peace and the jobless to collect benefits while looking for work.

Bunning had been opposing the bill extending benefits for 1.2 million Americans because he wanted the money to come from federal stimulus funds, but in the end his fellow Republicans got him to support the bill and not face the wrath against the party of voters tired of inaction in Congress.

For the 14.9 million unemployed Americans, there was more good news, as the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday that the national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.7%. At least it's not climbing.

The BLS reported that employment fell in construction and information sectors, while temporary help services added jobs. Severe winter weather in some areas of the country may have affected payroll employment and hours, it reported.