July Jobs Report Shows Little Change
Posted at 8:56 a.m. on Aug. 3, 2012
The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs report for July, with employment increasing by a larger than expected 163,000, but the unemployment rate increasing from 8.2% to 8.3%.
Check this post throughout the day for a roundup of reactions.
Brad Plumer: “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 troubling news, however, is that the economy isn’t getting dramatically better, either… if we keep adding 151,000 jobs per month, on average, we won’t return to pre-recession levels of employment until after 2025.”
Felix Salmon doesn’t think it’s worth thinking too deeply about this month’s numbers: “This month, the two parts of the report tell differing stories: the headline payrolls number was higher than most people expected, even as the headline unemployment rate went up. Look a bit more deeply, and things become ever messier, what with all the revisions and the changes in people looking for work, and the decrease in median unemployment duration, and so on and so forth. As a result, this month of all months it’s actually quite easy for the markets (if not the politicians) to move on to the next thing. After all, they have very short attention spans at the best of times.”
Cardiff Garcia: “Our earlier thoughts about seasonal adjustment issues still hold. Average monthly jobs growth this year is just above 150,000, which is the same as it was for all of last year. The average for the last three months (including this morning’s revisions) is growth of 105,000, and we don’t mean to suggest that the slowdown in recent months isn’t real, but the underlying trend is probably higher.”
Matthew Yglesias: “What we’re getting is roughly the recovery the Federal Reserve wants. A recovery that’s consistent with a 2 percent inflation ceiling and thus isn’t consistent with the kind of wild boom that would put as back on track to full employment. We’re growing modestly as if we were already there. But we aren’t.”
Ryan Avent: “To a striking extent, the pace of employment recovery has been stable at a level just above underlying labour-force growth. The unemployment rate has fallen, but mostly as long-term unemployed workers have left the labour force. The employment-population ratio is essentially unchanged from February of 2010; it was 68.5% then, just a tenth of a percentage point above the current level… This is America’s recovery… Stand back and look at employment growth and the stability of the rise in payrolls through recovery is simply unmistakable. That strikingly flat line is down to the Fed’s engineering.”