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

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 is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.