June Jobs Report: Flat

So the magic number of net new jobs in June came in at 80,000, slightly less than the 90-100k economists were guessing at, and well under the more optimistic expectations that built up yesterday. Nothing in the report jumps out at you: small revisions for the last two months (down a bit for April, up a bit for May); unemployment rate unchanged; jobs growth relatively even across sectors with small but tepid growth. The most striking numbers are by quarter:

In the second quarter, employment growth averaged 75,000 per month,
compared with an average monthly gain of 226,000 for the first quarter of
the year. Slower job growth in the second quarter occurred in most major
industries.

We’ll see how the spin goes, but this is precisely what Mitt Romney’s beleaguered campaign team needed today: an excuse to get back to what it does best, which is mindless fulmination over short-term economic indicators.

UPDATE: Ray of hope for immediate economic prospects pointed to by economist Justin Wolfers in this tweet: “The big question is whether this is a weak enough report to get the Fed to move. I think it is, and they will.”

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.