Latest Unemployment Numbers Miss the Mark

By Luis Cabrera

September 7, 2012–The US economy added only 96,000 jobs to the economy last month, a weak figure that fell short of expectations as manufacturers cut payroll and the government continued to slim down.

The official unemployment figure nationally went down to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent, but only because more people gave up looking for work. Analysts had expected at least 125,000 jobs created last month.

Employment registered an increase in the food and drinking sector, which accounted for 30 percent, or 28,000, of the total added in August. Food and beverage service positions typically pay less and offer less hours to workers.

Health care, computer firms, management and technical services also hired more people in August, the Labor Department said.

In average, only 139,000 new jobs have been created every month in 2012, compared to 153,000 in 2011. Average hourly earnings also took a dive in August, according to statistics released.

The percentage of people in the US with steady employment is 63.5, the lowest rate since 1981.

In addition, the Labor Department also announced revised numbers for June and July, and the corrected figures are even more abysmal. In July for example, the revised job growth was only 141,000, and not 163,000 as previously reported. Numbers for June were similarly adjusted and now indicate a net job growth of 45,000, down from 64,000 initially announced.

The somber report will probably crash the party for Democrats after President Obama’s speech at the convention closing last night. The administration has not been able to answer the where are the jobs? Question brought up by Republicans in the current presidential election campaign.

Mitt Romney called the figures “more of the same for middle-class families.” The Republican candidate added this is the “worst economic recovery since the Great Depression.”

Manufacturing had been the flagship of the economic bounce, but the sector lost 15,000 jobs in August confirming predictions of a slowdown in orders and exports. Employment in the temporary-aid category, which is usually considered an indicator for hiring trends, dropped by 4,900.

Analysts say the Federal Reserve will likely announce new measures to stimulate the economy soon.

Sources: BBC, LAT

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