Jobless Uptick Masks Some Positive News
Private-sector jobs grew for the eighth month in a row
Phrases like "jobless recovery" and "double-dip recession" have been on the lips of politicians and pundits for months now, and the latest
unemployment numbers may do little to quell such worries. The newest
"The hard truth is that it took years to create our current economic problems, and it will take more time than any of us would like to repair the damage," President Obama said this morning, commenting on the latest economic data.
At this morning's remarks in the Rose Garden, Obama stressed that the country is seeing growth, however slow. "The key point I'm making right now is that the economy is moving in a positive direction. Jobs are being created," he said. However, he added that "we still have a long way to go before the economy is generating all the jobs we need for the labor force."
In a briefing at the
August's small unemployment uptick belies a complex situation, in which real signs of growth are visible. The one-tenth of a percent increase represents a net loss of 54,000 non-farm payroll jobs. However, this job loss was expected, as a result of 114,000 workers finishing their temporary Census jobs. Private payrolls, in contrast, increased by 67,000 in August. Krueger pointed out that private sector jobs have increased for eight months in a row, and that a total of 763,000 jobs have been added during that period.
Other recent unemployment figures bolster the claim that the job situation is improving. In the week ending
Such reassurances of slow growth provide little comfort to the 14.9 million unemployed and 1.1 million discouraged workers in
Yet he adds that, Americans are experiencing frustrated expectations about the speed of recovery, particularly in the area of employment. "Many of us hoped, I think, that because the job market downturn was so severe that the bounceback would also be commensurately rapid," he says.
Rather than wait for those "bobbles" to turn in a more decidedly positive direction, the administration is hoping to help accelerate job growth. President Obama today urged the
However, Burtless downplays that bill's importance within the larger economic picture. Burtless points to tax cuts instituted by President
Evans, meanwhile, advocates more federal assistance to state governments, many of which are facing severe budget deficits forcing cutbacks in jobs for teachers, police and other public workers. "We do need the federal government to make up for the contraction that is really going on at the state level" as the stimulus package support winds down, he says.
While some economists might advocate such a policy, the Obama administration on Thursday quelled speculation that it is considering this type of "second stimulus." However, Obama indicated that he does plan to offer some new "ideas" next week, and will discuss them at a press conference.
For its part, the administration is striking a tone of cautious optimism surrounding recovery, both of jobs and of the U.S. economy as a whole. As Krueger said today, "I think there is more durability to the recovery," pointing to the
However, Krueger added, the upward economic trajectory he predicts will likely remain bumpy: "The recovery faces some headwinds that are going to mean that not every line is going to point upward every month."
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Jobless Uptick Masks Some Positive News
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