New Jobs Report, Same Old Disappointing Story (Again)

by Jonathan Cohn | September 3, 2010

A new jobs report is out this morning. It's not quite as bad as some people feared. But it's still bad. Unemployment actually went up from 9.5 to 9.6 percent. The private sector added jobs but not enough to offset public sector losses, including the end of temporary census jobs and layoffs by state or local governments.

Here's Andrew Samwick, at Capital Gains and Games, with some quick analysis:

The latest from the BLS on the employment situation is more of the same.  There was essentially no net job growth -- a decline of 54,000 consisting of a fall in government employment as Census workers finished up that was not quite offset by a rise in private sector employment.  The official unemployment rate went from 9.5 to 9.6 percent and the broadest measure of labor underutilization (U-6) went from 16.5 to 16.7 percent.  There is nothing in here that merits joy.  Expect the spinmeisters to focus on the rise in private sector employment (up 763,000 since the low in December 2009) and the upward revisions (to smaller job losses) from the two prior months.

Annie Lowrey pans back to paint the larger, dreary picture:

Economists feared a worse report-with private-sector job growth beating forecasts by 20 to 50 percent. For the first time since 2007, the unemployment rate improved year-on-year. But the rising unemployment rate remains evidence of a lagging recovery. Stimulus funds are drying up. Joblessness is pervasive, meaning lower sales for companies. Business owners are concerned about economic conditions, and therefore are loath to hire new workers. Since December, 2009, the private sector has added 763,000 jobs--95,375 a month--but to keep up with population growth, the United States needs to add about 125,000 positions per month. To return to full employment in five years, the economy needs to add 300,000 a month, every month. The United States has added just 3.4 million net new jobs since January 2000, though the country has grown by 29 million people.

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