I believe it is growth in our time. The July jobs report should (barely) appease those worried about a double (or is it now triple?) dip recession. And that is about the only good thing to be said:
Continuing a long slog upward from the depths of the recession, the American economy added 163,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, the Labor Department said on Friday. That compares to a revised 64,000 jobs added in June.
July’s job growth was higher than economists had been expecting, but no one is yet popping champagne corks. The unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2 percent.
“It’s a lot better than we’d been seeing in the last few months, but it’s still short of the kind of job growth we were seeing at the beginning of this year,” said Paul Ashworth, chief United States economist at Capital Economics.
As for the pace of hiring through the rest of the year, he said, “I think this is about as good as it’s going to get.”
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.
And the rate at which the economy has been adding jobs in the last few months is just barely fast enough to absorb the growth in the labor force.
“In the weakest recovery since the Great Depression, nearly the entire reduction in unemployment since October 2009 has been accomplished through a significant drop in the percentage of adults participating in the labor force — either working or looking for work,” said Peter Morici, a professor at the University of Maryland.
Economists had been expecting that another poor month of job growth would virtually guarantee more stimulus from the Federal Reserve. After its meeting this week, Fed officials said they acknowledged that the economy was slowing and stood ready to take additional stimulus measures.
Now, it’s not clear what Friday’s numbers portend for Fed action.
Economists are not expecting job growth to pick up much anytime soon. Concerned about the European debt crisis and the draconian American fiscal tightening scheduled for the end of the year, companies are starting to retrench.
Government payrolls, which have been shedding workers almost every month for the last two years, have been a drag on overall employment growth. In July, total government employment — that is, at the federal, state and local levels — fell by 9,000 jobs.
Forecasts for gross domestic product growth in the third quarter of this year have fallen in recent days on the heels of other disappointing economic news from manufacturing and consumer spending.
As Obama explained, it worked, and it's still working.