Gary Burtless

Note from Jonathan Cohn: Blah. That's the best way to describe the new jobs report, which the Bureau of Labor Statistics published this morning. The reports suggests that the economy created just 120,000 jobs, on net, last month. That's lower than expectations and lower than the job creation numbers for the last few months. It could be statistical noise and it could be an error. Some of the underlying measures actually look pretty good. But it could also be a sign that the recovery, such that it is, is slowing a bit.

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Editor's note: As I was thinking about Sunday's New York Times article about iPhone manufacturing, I e-mailed a few economists to see what lessons they drew from it. One was Andrew Samwick, of Dartmouth, who pointed me to a post at his new blog. There, he stresses, among other things, the importance of "agglomeration": Manufacturers like to build new plans in close proximity to suppliers.

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Economists had hoped last months' dismal employment report represented a temporary slow down. But June's report, published this morning, is even worse. To explain what it all means, here's Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution: As far as the job market is concerned, the economy is stuck in neutral. Even if the economy is growing, progress on the jobs front has slowed to a halt. For Americans who are currently seeking work that will mean continued pain.

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