Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Steve Benen breaks down the August jobs report, U.S. economy created 169k jobs in August, jobless rate dips:
The jobs reports are starting to get a little predictable, by virtue of the fact that over the last several months, they're effectively the same.
The new report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 169,000 jobs in August, which is roughly in line with expectations. After years of public-sector layoffs serving as a drag on the overall economy, we're starting to see a slight turnaround -- the private sector added 152,000 jobs last month, while the public sector added 17,000 jobs. That may seem like a fairly modest number, but it's the most in recent memory.
The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.3%, which is the lowest it's been in nearly five years, but it's not evidence of good news -- it ticked down largely because of people leaving the workforce.
Indeed, while the 169,000 jobs added in August isn't an awful preliminary report, on the whole, this morning's figures are quite discouraging. The key is the revisions -- June totals were revised down from 188,000 to 172,000, while July's totals were revised down from 162,000 to 104,000. Combined, that's a whopping 74,000 jobs we thought were created, but weren't.
This should, in theory, send some key signals to policymakers in Washington. The Federal Reserve really shouldn't be too eager to scale back its intervention, and Congress would ideally be looking for ways to give the job market a boost in order to strengthen a larger economic recovery. The latter appears highly unlikely -- Republican lawmakers continue to back job-killing sequestration budget cuts and are now threatening another debt-ceiling crisis that would destroy the job market (again).
All told, so far in calendar year 2013, the economy has added 1.44 jobs overall, and 1.47 million in the private sector.
Here's another chart showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.
Neil Irwin at Ezra Klein's Wonkblog adds,"You don’t have to squint hard to see evidence that the “nice, steady improvement” theme that has been the conventional wisdom is missing part of the story." Ignore the headlines. This was a very bad jobs report.
That is particularly relevant for Chairman Ben Bernanke and his colleagues at the Fed. The central bank has been expected to start pulling back on the pace of its $85 billion-a-month in bond purchases at its meeting Sept. 17-18. The Fed’s entire plan for winding down its “QE” policies, which it planned to conclude in the middle of next year, has been dependent on steady improvement in the jobs market.
That such a jobs recovery may not materialize has to make them at least think twice, maybe three times, about pulling the trigger on the so-called taper at this policy committee meeting. Adding to the case for waiting is a looming fiscal standoff and rising oil prices set off by the conflict in Syria, which is heightening geopolitical worries.
This report may not be definitive, but it’s enough to spur a reassessment of how robust this recovery is, and how much confidence any of us have in that view.
End the sequester, end the disproved and discredited conservative austerity economics, and pass a big jobs bill and infrastructure stimulus bill. Do what we know works to put people back to work and to boost the economy. Stop the insanity.