Some See Recovery In The Employment Report

august unemployment graph.png

I’ll keep my comments about the August employment report mercifully short. I suspect you’ve already absorbed more information than you need.

First, here’s the BLS short-form analysis:

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-54,000) in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000).

The spin by and large was that this was a good report in that it puts to rest the double dip fears. If you’re tempted to mumble about grasping at straws, I’m with you.

Look behind the headline numbers and you see health care accounting for 27,000 new jobs, mining 8,000, temp workers up 17,000 and construction workers picking up 19,000 new jobs. Ten thousand of the “new” construction jobs arose from striking workers returning to work.

Do the math and you can see that these numbers account for more than the reported 67,000 gain, so absent some miscellaneous gains, someone had to lose some jobs, right. Well that would be the manufacturing sector which was down 27,000. To be fair, a lot of that relates to normal shutdowns of auto plants in late summer.

Toss out health care jobs which seem to grow like Topsy regardless of the economy (can you spell government support?) and I think it’s pretty obvious we aren’t going anywhere very fast. The private sector just isn’t hiring.

The chart at the top of this post from Calculated Risk pretty much sums up the disaster that’s been visited upon the American worker. Yesterday’s employment report depicts a recovery that is largely invisible to the majority of the country. I find it difficult to take much solace in it.

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