The United States added just 83,000 private-sector jobs in June, a dishearteningly low number that could add to the growing number of economists who warn that the economic recovery is stalling.
Over all, the nation lost 125,000 jobs, according to the monthly snapshot of the job market released by the Labor Department on Friday. Most of the lost jobs came as temporary workers hired by the federal government to help with the census exited their jobs.
The unemployment rate actually fell, from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent. But don't be fooled. Larry Mishel, of the Economic Policy Institute, notes via e-mail:
The fall in unemployment is obviously due to a major withdrawal from the labor force (including people not entering and looking for work) and will be reversed in coming months. Hours of work are stable and wages actually didn't grow at all, another dismal sign. ...
Let me add--wages actually fell 2 cents for all workers, they were flat for production workers. More important the Labor Force fell about a million over the last 2 mos, and is lower than when the recession started 2.5 yrs ago!
Mishel's take seems to be consensus on the center-left. Brad DeLong notes that the ratio of employment to population is now
88.5 58.5 percent, back where it was last November.
"Getting worse more slowly" is not "better." There is no "upturn." There never was.
I'm no economist, of course. But most of the economists I know and trust think numbers like these are proof that we need a major new stimulus package, in order to create jobs and--oh, by the way--help everybody who's out of work. Meanwhile, conservatives--most but not all of them in the Republican Party--continue to block action even on a much smaller jobs package.
But you knew that already, didn't you? Sigh.
Update: And here's more from Dean Baker.