August jobs report: more new jobs, but unemployment rises

It’s the first Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday of the month and so the BLS has once again released the monthly jobs report.

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 163,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.3 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in professional and business services, food services and drinking places, and manufacturing.

Let’s be clear: this is still not very good news, but seeing as how most Americans have already kind of “priced in” the bad economy into their assessment of the president’s job performance, these kinds of numbers probably aren’t moving the dial too much in either direction. (And to be clear, when I say these “numbers” aren’t moving the dial, I don’t mean that the report itself could have an effect; I’m speaking about the potential effect of the actual reality that the numbers represent, which cannot be faked.)

It should be noted that, once again, private employment increased over the last month while public employment continues to drop. Government and the public sector shed 9,000 jobs this month. Remember that if government employment had just remained flat over this recession that unemployment would be at least an entire point lower, and if government employment had been allowed to expand like it did under Reagan, Bush 41, and Bush 43, then I probably wouldn’t be writing this monthly jobs report, because unemployment wouldn’t be a huge issue. This slow recovery is at least partially a result of GOP obstruction of continued federal aid to state governments who have been forced to cut the jobs of teachers, firefighters, and police.

The June jobs report for May was adjusted from 77,000 to 87,000 jobs created, but unfortunately last months’ report for June was adjusted from 80,000 to 64,000.

Here’s the updated chart for what these jobs numbers may mean for the president’s re-election chances.

As you can see, the trend line has taken a small-but-discernible upward turn and is now almost exactly even with Nate Silver’s cumulative Magic Number proposed back in February. This is just another reason to believe that this election is going to be really close.

Last month I foolishly predicted that this month’s jobs report would be higher. It was foolish because I had very little idea what I was talking about, but I turned out to be correct, if only accidentally. I’ll go ahead and be foolish again and predict that next month’s report will be roughly the same as this month. Take that for what it’s worth, which is, coincidentally, exactly the amount you have paid for it.

Last month’s report here. First in the series here. “Super Optimistic” line explained here.

Author: Wiesman

Husband, father, video game developer, liberal, and perpetual Underdog.

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