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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

September 10, 2012 at 10:05 AM

A random walk through the jobs report

Friday’s report showed 96,000 net new jobs created in August. It marks the 30th straight month of private-sector job gains. That’s a total of 4.6 million new jobs since February 2010. Unfortunately, it takes at least 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with the natural growth of the labor force. And we have 4.7 million fewer jobs than when the Great Recession began, even though corporate profits and GDP have rebounded.

“Official” unemployment fell to 8.1 percent, largely because of people dropping out of the workforce. Chad Stone, chief economist of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted, “the labor force shrank by 368,000 in August after falling by 150,000 in July as the number of people with a job fell by 119,000 and the number of unemployed workers fell by 250,000.” The U-6 measure, which looks at part-time workers who want full-time work and discouraged workers, was 14.7 percent. At its worst, in October 2009, it reached 17.2 percent.

Stone adds that “long-term unemployment remains a significant concern. Two-fifths (40.0 percent) of the 12.5 million people who are unemployed — 5.0 million people — have been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer.”

As I wrote in my Labor Day column, there’s no single factor behind the ongoing jobs crisis and no quick fix. The demand hole caused by the recession was much larger than the stimulus could fill (and here’s a perspective on whether it “worked” or not, and how).

More easing by the Federal Reserve won’t create many news jobs because of the drag of tight fiscal policy in D.C. and state capitals around the nation. It’s amazing Mr. Romney isn’t running away with this election.

And Don’t Miss: Are you better off without dumb campaign questions? || Ezra Klein

Today’s Econ Haiku:

Sail on QE 3

And rearrange the deck chairs

It won’t float new jobs

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment

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