Editor’s Note – Once again, our monthly look at the “Who do you believe file?” is here. The jobs report came out for the month of July. Accompanying that report was an adjustment of previous months reports, as usual, yet the whole issue revolves on how you look at it. Or does it? Over at the Blaze, Dan Gross said this:
Friday’s report contained fodder for supporters of both Obama (the Chicago Bulls) and Romney (the Boston, um, Bears?). The economy added 163,000 payroll jobs in July. That’s much better than the anemic trend of recent months. Most of the gains came from business services (49,000), manufacturing (25,000), education (18,200), and health care (19,000). The gains should provide a measure of relief to the Bulls. But the unemployment rate, which has remained stubbornly high, ticked up a bit, to 8.3 percent. And so we’ve got dueling headlines. Democratic releases today will tout the 163,000 payroll job gain while Republican ones will lead with the elevated unemployment rate. In the accompanying video, John Avlon and I discuss the political import of the jobs report.
Agreed, there are talking points for both sides here, but the problem is not that simple, and frankly, its a bit disingenuous. Anyone that wants to spin this as somehow good needs medication to treat dementia. Additionally – the media needs it the most, why? Because they always look at the picture in small bites, and make apples and oranges comaprisons, usually with political slants. But for our purposes, here is a pretty fair description of the picture.
The other specter again is the U-6 data, the truer ‘real’ rate:
Consider: Nevada’s U-6 rate is 22.1 percent, up from just 7.6 percent in 2007. Economically troubled California has a 20.3 percent real rate, while Rhode Island is at 18.3 percent, more than double its 8.3 percent rate in 2007.
There were many more new jobs created, but the rate climbed, albeit minutely, but when 150,000 people fell out of the numbers, we can see how that almost erased all the gains. Its not pretty, and it has not been pretty for far too long, and George Bush gets far too much credit for his reach 3.5 years down the road. We pay CEO’s to fix things, not blame others as it gets worse. Steady poor leadership – one wonders how polls show that so many Americans would vote for Obama again. (Chuckle, forgot, the polls are a crock)
The Labor force continues to shrink, and in total, continues to show all-time lows.
Once again, you decide! Decide through a set of clear lenses.
Posted by Brad Plumer – Washington Post
The U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And the unemployment rate stayed essentially unchanged, even nudging up slightly from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent (actually, if you want to get technical, it went from 8.22 percent to 8.25 percent).
The bright spot here is that the job market isn’t getting dramatically worse. Those 163,000 new jobs were more than forecasters expected. July’s jobs figures were also much better than the disappointing reports in May and June. The more troubling news, however, is that the economy isn’t getting dramatically better, either.
This has been the case for quite some time: In the first seven months of 2012, the economy has added 151,000 jobs per month on average. That’s on par with 2011, when the economy added an average of 153,000 jobs per month. That’s enough to keep up with the growth of the U.S. population. But it’s not enough to bring down the unemployment rate dramatically. According to the Hamilton Project’s jobs calculator, if we keep adding 151,000 jobs per month, on average, we won’t return to pre-recession levels of employment until after 2025.
Some other points of interest in the report: BLS revised its numbers slightly for previous months. The figures from May got revised up from 77,000 new jobs to 87,000. And June’s numbers got revised down, from 80,000 to 64,000.
Meanwhile, some sectors of the economy showed signs of growth. Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs last month. The automobile industry had fewer layoffs than usually occurs at this time of year. The professional and business services sector added 49,000 jobs in July. Leisure, hospitality, and food services also saw a bump, with 29,000 new jobs. Meanwhile, hospitals and outpatient care sectors continued to hire new workers.
But many of the bleakest aspects of the jobs market haven’t changed a bit. There are still 5.2 million Americans who have been out of work for more than 27 weeks. There are still 8.2 million Americans who have to settle for part-time work, either because their hours were cut back or because those are the only jobs they could find. And the size of the labor force, which includes everyone who either has a job or would like one, hasn’t budged much.
So the U.S. economy keeps plodding along. And there’s little reason to think that trajectory will change drastically anytime soon. The rest of the global economy is limping along, with the debt crisis in Europe rippling out to other countries (including the United States). And policymakers in Washington D.C., for their part, appear to be largely complacent about mass unemployment.
Congress, for its part, isn’t expected to pass any further policies to bolster the economy before the November elections. And Federal Reserve officials are still poring over data, watching and waiting. The central bank will meet again in September to decide whether to take further action to try and stimulate the economy (say, another round of quantitative easing). Jobs reports from July and August will weigh heavily in the Fed’s decision making. They’ll have to decide whether the current pace of job growth is good enough.