Yet another discouraging jobs report

YET ANOTHER DISCOURAGING JOBS REPORT…. With the Census Bureau continuing to shed workers, there was no real doubt that in July, as in June, the latest jobs report would show a loss of jobs in the economy. The question was how many, and how the private sector numbers would look.

Private employers added new workers at a weak pace for the third straight month, making it more likely economic growth will slow in the coming months. The jobless rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent.

The Labor Department said Friday that companies added a net total of 71,000 jobs in July, far below the roughly 200,000 needed each month to reduce the unemployment rate.

Overall, the economy lost a net total of 131,000 jobs last month, as 143,000 temporary census jobs ended.

The relatively good news is that private-sector job growth exists, and it was a little higher in July than in the previous two months. In May, private-sector job gains totaled 51,000; in June the number was 31,000; and in July it was 71,000. We’ve now seen seven consecutive months of job growth in the private sector, a streak we haven’t seen in a long while.

The bad news is this isn’t remotely good enough to help generate a sustained economic recovery.

Adding insult to injury, as discouraging as these numbers are — and have been in recent months — there’s no reason to think policymakers will intervene to help. Congressional Republicans have made it clear that deficit reduction and spending cuts have to take priority over economic growth, and the GOP will block votes on recovery efforts, even if Democrats were to propose them. Indeed, in July, government jobs fell by 202,000 — which was preventable, if there was the political will to do something about it, or the legislative ability to overcome Republican obstructionism.

For what it’s worth, the job numbers for May and June were downwards, one far more than the other. While previous estimates showed the economy adding 433,000 jobs in May, the updated total was a gain of 432,000. June, however, was even worse than previously believed, revised from 125,000 lost jobs in the most to a loss of 221,000.

Once again, here’s the homemade chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction — red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.

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