Friday, August 06, 2004

Dude, where are my 5.6 million jobs?

You've already heard the numbers, and they're bleaker than bleak. While analysts were expecting the economy to add anywhere from 215,000 to 247,000 jobs in July, the actual number was a meager 32,000. Revisions to recent monthly data were all reduced as well. Profits up, wages and salaries down. Profits up, wages and salaries down. Say it a thousand times until it sinks in.
U.S. employers added a paltry 32,000 workers to payrolls last month, the government said on Friday in a report that was far weaker than expected and unwelcome news for an election-bound President Bush.

The Labor Department also cut its tally of job growth in May and June by a combined 61,000, adding to the report's weak tenor. . . .

"It's a huge disappointment, a big surprise," said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James in St. Petersburg, Fla. "It implies a very sharp revision to the overall outlook for the economy."
From the recent high of February 2001, the US economy under Bush has lost over 1.8 million private sector jobs. Government employment has shot up by 700,000 jobs, but one assumes Bush isn't about the trumpet that achievement. Paul Krugman says the US needs to add around 110,000 jobs per month simply to keep up with population growth. From the time the jobs destruction trend bottomed out in August 2003, the US needed 1.2 million new jobs just to stay in place; the economy added 1.5 million, just enough to keep one's head above water. Of course, since March 2001 the US economy needed 4.4 million jobs to keep pace with population growth; the economy lost 1.2 million -- a 5.6 million job shortfall.

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