Job Growth Grinds to a Halt
Lack of Hiring in August Roils Financial Markets; Economic Gloom Ratchets Up Pressure on Obama
BY SUDEEP REDDY

The U.S. economy slammed into a wall in August, failing to add any jobsThe U.S. economy slammed into a wall in August, failing to add any jobs for the first time in nearly a year and ratcheting up pressure on President Barack Obama to find a way to kick-start the sputtering recovery.

Underscoring the political problem posed by the dearth of hiring, Mr. Obama on Friday asked the Environmental Protection Agency to withdraw an air-quality proposal that Republicans and business groups said could kill thousands of jobs and cost hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

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Did the White House double-cross its supporters on the smog rule?
By Brad Plumer

Get ready to hear a lot about ozone in the coming weeks. On Friday, in a surprise move, the White House told the EPA to pull back on national standards for ground-level ozone pollution — smog — which the agency has been working on for the past two years. My colleague Juliet Eilperin has the full story, but the upshot is that this represents a clear victory for business groups and Republicans, who had been lobbying to postpone the regulations until a new scheduled review in 2013.

To add a bit to this, though, it’s worth taking a closer look at why environmentalists and clean-air advocates are so furious right now. Groups that have been lobbying for the long-delayed ozone update say they were essentially betrayed by the Obama administration, which, back in 2009, had fended off a lawsuit over Bush-era ozone rules by promising to issue tougher new standards. That, obviously, isn’t going to happen now. What’s more, critics note, the White House’s stated reasons for yanking the rules make no sense at all. Do they have a point?

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