US Economy Adds 163,000 Jobs But Unemployment Rate Up
The US added 163,000 jobs in July according to figures released by the Labor Department today. The unemployment rate rose, to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent.
12.8 million were unemployed in July, the same amount as in June.
About 8.8 million jobs were lost in the 18-month recession that ended in June 2009. Through June, the US has recovered about 3.8 million jobs.
Sluggish, tepid, a snail’s pace: These are the words to describe the recovery from the Great Recession, it seems. The New York Times points out:
For context, the economy now produces as many goods and services — more, in fact — than it did before the downturn officially began in December 2007. But it does so with almost five million fewer jobs.
The economy is adding jobs but at a rate that is barely staying ahead of growth in the labor force. About 100,000 jobs need to be added per month to keep the joblessness rate the same and roughly 150,000 to 200,000 to lower it.
More Americans do seem optimistic about finding a job. The number of “discouraged workers” who are not looking for work because they believe there are no jobs, has fallen by 267,000 to 852,000.
But companies have been cutting jobs: Morgan Stanley has cut 4,000 in 2012 and Cisco announced it is cutting 1,300 or about 2 percent of its workforce.
Consumer spending has been slowing down, in the face of economic declines in Europe and, says Bloomberg, with businesses anticipating the so-called “fiscal cliff,” impending increases in taxes and reduced spending by government agencies if Congress does not act by next year concerning $1.2 trillion in across-the-board cuts to federal spending. For instance, Lockheed Martin Corp., the largest defense contractor in the world, may have to let go of about 10,000 of its 120,000 employees.
The “one bright spot” according to some economists is that Friday’s report may spur the Federal Reserve to act, though it’s debatable how much such measures may help. After a two-day meeting earlier this week, the Fed said that unemployment “remains elevated” and predicted that economic growth will “remain moderate over coming quarters and then … pick up very gradually.”
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