The Employment Situation for August – Worse Than (Very Low) Expectations


Today’s Employment Situation report for August from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) describes nonfarm payroll employment (from the establishment survey) as unchanged from July. The 17 thousand private sector jobs added were offset by the same number lost in the government sector.  The poor performance was spread across all major industries. The June and July figures were revised downward by a total of 58 thousand jobs.

The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent as the household survey indicated the labor force and number of employed persons rose by comparable amounts.

Payroll employment growth has weakened considerably since earlier in the year, averaging 53 thousand per month in the last three months compared to 215 thousand in the preceding three months.

Consumer and business confidence have declined sharply in recent months and this report adds to the drumbeat of bad economic news.

Today’s report adds to the accumulating evidence that the economic recovery may be in jeopardy and heightens anticipation of the Obama administration’s post-Labor Day announcement of its job creation proposals as well as the upcoming September FOMC meeting by the Federal Reserve and news of any additional stimulus from monetary policy.

There is no good news in today’s jobs report and the economic recovery can use all the help it can get.


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