Slow Economy Progress: 163,000 New Jobs Created Unemployment Rises to 8.3%
The new job numbers are in and many analysts say it shows some slow progress. But this is election year, so expect to have it framed in differently by Ds and Rs:
The U.S. economy closed out an otherwise weak second quarter by creating more jobs than expected, with 163,000 new positions added, but the unemployment rate rose to 8.3 percent.
Markets reacted positively to the announcement, with stock futures indicating gains at the Wall Street open. Economists had been expecting 100,000 new jobs.
As the country struggles to gain growth traction, the unemployment rate held above 8 percent for the 41st consecutive month, according to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“While the monthly gain is still relatively small by historical standards, it might help spxark somewhat higher consumer optimism and spending,” Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board, said in response to the report.
Despite the seemingly good news, the report’s household showed that the actual amount of Americans working dropped by 195,000, with the net job gain resulting primarily from seasonal adjustments in the establishment survey. The birth-death model, which approximates net job growth from newly added or closed businesses, added 52,000 to the total.
The household survey also showed 150,000 fewer Americans in the workforce.
*** Better (but still not great) job news for Obama: Well, the July jobs numbers are in, and they are better news for President Obama than they’ve been since the early spring. Here’s the AP’s write-up: “U.S. employers added 163,000 jobs in July, a hopeful sign after three months of sluggish hiring. The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose to 8.3% from 8.2 % in June. July’s hiring was the best since February. Still, the economy has added an average of 151,000 jobs a month this year, roughly the same as last year’s pace.” As we said before, anything above 150,000 new jobs per month is good news for Obama. But expect Mitt Romney and the Republicans to focus on the slight tick up in the unemployment rate. The president will likely comment on the job numbers at his 11:45 am ET event at the White House, which is scheduled to press Congress to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class. Meanwhile, we’ll certainly get reaction from Romney, who campaigns in Las Vegas around the very same time.
And — yes — you can get those positions reinforced according to your political preference by turning on MSNBC (it’s real progress) or Fox News (nothing has changed and it’s getting worse).