Labor Secretary Hilda Solis touted administration progress on getting Americans back to work Friday, even as the latest job numbers showed unemployment ticking up to 9.6 percent.

"I think the good news is that, again, the strides that we have made in this administration to put recovery first and foremost is happening," Solis said on MSNBC. "It's slow."

Solis said that job creation efforts include "taking an active role to get people into training programs such as renewable energy and high-tech, broadband and also health care and those are the streams that I can continue to see growing in this recovery."

The Labor secretary declined to speculate on whether President Obama would push a payroll tax holiday to help spur job growth, saying that idea as well as research and development tax credits were on the table for further consideration.

"I'll let the president get into more detail about that but right now our focus has to be on those people that haven't found jobs yet and to be honest, more people are looking for jobs so I think there's a bit of optimism, too because of the signs we se that there is growth in mining, manufacturing, in health care," Solis said. "And in business and professional areas so I think that that's also why you're seeing the tick-up because more people are looking for jobs."

In a Friday USA Today op-ed, Solis touted the Recovery Act as having "saved millions of American jobs" and stressed that "there are jobs out there."

"And, this Labor Day — and every day — I'm going to continue helping people find them and employers fill them," Solis wrote.