169,000 net jobs created in August; June, July numbers drastically lowered
The "official" unemployment rate dropped to 7.3% from 7.4% last month. But, as usual, the number went down because more American workers simply gave up trying to find a job.
Labor force participation dropped to 63.2% - the lowest since 1978.
Employers added 169,000 jobs in August and July's figure was revised sharply lower to 104,000, suggesting the labor-market recovery isn't gaining strength and potentially complicating the Federal Reserve's plans to start dialing back its support for the economy.
In its monthly employment report released Friday, the Labor Department lowered the combined tally for job gains in June and July by 74,000. The nation's unemployment rate stood at 7.3% in August, down slightly from 7.4% in July.
The August jobs gain was slightly lower than the average monthly gain of 184,000 over the prior 12 months and the 175,000 new jobs forecast by economists. The private sector added 152,000 jobs in August and government increased employment by 17,000.
The new estimate of 104,000 jobs added in July, down from an initial estimate of 162,000, was the lowest increase in over a year, a sign of easing momentum in the labor market recovery.
The labor report is the last monthly snapshot of hiring trends that Fed officials will see before they meet on Sept. 17-18 and decide whether to start scaling back their $85 billion-a-month bond-purchase program meant to spur economic growth. The central bank signaled earlier this year it would pull back on the program if the economy continued to show improvement, and many economists believe it could start to do so as soon as this month.
There are no silver linings. The New York Times story reports,
If the economy were to fill the jobs gap left by the recession within the next four years, around 300,000 jobs a month would need to be created, according to the Hamilton Project at the Brookings Institution.
Most of the jobs added were in retail and hospitality and leisure with 71,000 of the 169,000 jobs concentrated in those two sectors.
There is nothing new in this jobs report. As has been the case many times previously, a "good" jobs report - over 200,00 jobs created - is inevitably followed by a bad jobs report that lowers that number considerably.
I just realized something; by the time the economy creates enough jobs to fully recover from the recession, I will be able to collect Social Security and Medicare - if I want to retire. Not that I could retire.
To quote the famous philospher Bugs Bunny: "What a revoltin' development."