June jobs report shows rising US unemployment, economic outlook worsens

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The June jobs report for the US shows job growth has almost halted while the unemployment rate rose from 9.1% to 9.2%, much higher than March’s figure of 8.8%. Employers added only 18,000 new jobs, far fewer than the average of 215,000 per month added from February to April. These numbers add to fears that the economic recovery has stalled.

Analysts were predicting the job growth number for June to reach 125,000, according to a CNN poll.

It’s just an across-the-board retreat. This is two months of really scary reports.

Additionally, the figures for May were revised downward from 54,000 to 25,000 for a two month downward trend. To keep up with normal population growth, the US economy needs to increase the available jobs by 150,000 monthly. Only one fifth of the 8.8 million jobs lost since 2008 when the recession began have been added.

There was no encouraging news in the report. Government jobs fell by 39,000, and construction jobs remained stalled. Manufacturing added an anemic 6,000 jobs. The temporary-job industry lost positions for the third straight month. The average work week was reduced by 0.1 hours to 34.3. And the average hourly salary for private sector workers fell by one cent.

I view this number as a call to action. This number illustrates this thing that we knew, which is we’ve got to get the growth rate up.

The total number of unemployed people remains around 14.1 million, and 6.3 million have been unemployed at least six months.

“It’s just an across-the-board retreat,” said Heidi Shierholz, labor economist at the Economic Policy Institute. “This is two months of really scary reports.”

In an interview, Austan Goolsbee, Barack Obama’s chief economist said, “I view this number as a call to action. This number illustrates this thing that we knew, which is we’ve got to get the growth rate up. … When you see jobs reports like this, that should make it clear that we need to stop bickering, and get these things done.”

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