Marketwatch: Job growth was unchanged in August, the weakest performance in almost a year, the Labor Department said Friday. The weak report was lower than the 53,000 gain expected by Wall Street economists. A strike at Verizon Communications cut 45,000 from payrolls in the month. The unemployment rate held steady at 9.1% as expected.
Steve Benen: …. For the first time in six decades, the U.S. simply broke even – no jobs were lost in the overall economy, and no jobs were gained…
…. It’s worth noting that the figures are skewed a bit by the Verizon strike, which has since been resolved. The labor dispute temporarily subtracted 45,000 jobs from the economy, so when that’s taken into consideration, the overall economy actually added 45,000 jobs in August, which was roughly in line with expectations.
But that’s cold comfort in the midst of a prolonged jobs crisis … This report reinforces the impression that the economy is just stalled, waiting for someone to give it a boost …. It’s a boost, of course, that congressional Republicans are desperate to prevent.
…. August, to be sure, was a brutal month all around. Wall Street took wild swings; Republican antics led to a downgrade in U.S. debt; the European debt crisis intensified, etc. The fact that hiring effectively halted in the month is not shocking.
But it is painful, and serves as yet another wake-up call to anyone who’ll listen: we have a jobs crisis, not a deficit crisis. If our political system were in any way sane, elected leaders would look at these numbers and conclude that the economy desperately needs an immediate jolt. Job creation should be the first, and arguably only, priority on the minds of policymakers.
Full post here
Steve Benen: When the jobs reports were looking quite good in the early spring, Republican leaders were eager to take credit for the positive numbers they had nothing to do with. After all, as far as GOP officials were concerned, their mere presence in the House majority was enough to inspire job creators everywhere.
But if Republicans demanded credit for the job totals in the spring, these same Republicans are desperate to avoid blame for job totals in the summer. It’s a nice little scam Republicans have put together: when more jobs are being created, it’s proof they’re right; when fewer jobs are being created, it’s proof Democrats are wrong.
Heads they win; tails Obama loses…..