Still Shedding Jobs
Last month's employment report:
Nonfarm payroll employment continued to decline in September (-263,000), and the unemployment rate (9.8 percent) continued to trend up, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The largest job losses were in construction, manufacturing, retail trade, and government.
Household Survey Data
Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.6 million to 15.1 million, and the unemployment rate has doubled to 9.8 percent.
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for July was revised from -276,000 to -304,000, and the change for August was revised from -216,000 to -201,000.
Economists were hoping for something around 175,000 losses.
Earlier this week, I wrote about how Obama's approval rating is intimately timed to the jobs situation. A report by two professors at Rutgers says it will take until 2017 for jobs to reach pre-recession levels. That could be two Presidents from now, the way things are going.
Obama doesn't need a full recovery, but he needs to show improvement. And the only way, at this point, to improve the jobs situation is with another stimulus.
Stocks are up. Ben Bernanke says that the recession is over. And I sense a growing willingness among movers and shakers to declare “Mission Accomplished” when it comes to fighting the slump. It’s time, I keep hearing, to shift our focus from economic stimulus to the budget deficit.
No, it isn’t. And the complacency now setting in over the state of the economy is both foolish and dangerous.