June Jobs Report Indicates that US Economy Has Long Way to Go

Today's lackluster jobs numbers from June contribute the picture of a weak American economy, no longer falling off a cliff, but having a tremendously difficult time creating jobs and pulling itself out of the high unemployment that is sticking around after the recession has technically ended. The numbers do not really indicate a double-dip recession, (that's less likely, but could come as an aftermath of the European austerity push and stagnating growth in emerging markets) but they do indicate continued weakness in the largest economy in the world.

The meat of the jobs report is that we gained 100,000 non-census jobs, including 83,000 private sector jobs. That's an increase from last month, and jobs numbers tend to jump around from month to month, but it's clear that these numbers are not moving in the right direction at a sufficient rate. The unemployment rate went down, but mainly as a result of 652,000 workers leaving the labor force. 

The unfortunate thing about these reports is that they become part of the Washington horse-race. One monthly report cannot paint a clear picture of the direction of the economy. From the last few months and other data, however, it has become increasingly clear that bickering in the Senate over unemployment insurance and teachers' jobs looks silly in the face of this data. This is the worst recession since the Great Depression, and the simple truth is that more action must be taken to repair the economy and create jobs. 

From The New York Times:


Update: An excerpt from President Obama delivered remarks this morning on the jobs report:

This morning, we received the June employment report.  It reflected the planned phase out of 225,000 temporary Census jobs.  But it also showed the sixth straight month of job growth in the private sector.  All told, our economy has created nearly 600,000 private sector jobs this year.  That’s a stark turnaround from the first six months of last year, when we lost 3.7 million jobs at the height of the recession.  

Now, make no mistake:  We are headed in the right direction.  But as I was reminded on a trip to Racine, Wisconsin, earlier this week, we’re not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans.  We’re not headed there fast enough for me, either.  The recession dug us a hole of about 8 million jobs deep.  And we continue to fight headwinds from volatile global markets.  So we still have a great deal of work to do to repair the economy and get the American people back to work. 

That’s why we’re continuing a relentless effort across multiple fronts to keep this recovery moving.  And today, I’d like to make a quick announcement regarding new infrastructure investments under the Recovery Act -– investments that will create private sector jobs and make America more competitive.

Secretary Locke and Secretary Vilsack have joined me here today to announce that the Departments of Commerce and Agriculture will invest in 66 new projects across America that will finally bring reliable broadband Internet service to communities that currently have little or no access.

In the short term, we expect these projects to create about 5,000 construction and installation jobs around the country.  And once we emerge from the immediate crisis, the long-term economic gains to communities that have been left behind in the digital age will be immeasurable.

In sum: We're not falling off a cliff anymore, in large part because of Administration's actions; the stimulus continues to work - both right now and by investing in long-term prosperity; and there's much more to be done.