Jobs report: Only 69,000 jobs added, jobless rate rises to 8.2%; Update: New Romney ad attacks on jobs, Solyndra

posted at 8:33 am on June 1, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Jim Pethokoukis called this a “huge miss” on Twitter, and he’s right.  Analysts expected the US economy to add 150,000 jobs in May.  Instead, we saw only a net gain of 69,000 jobs, and the jobless rate went up slightly to 8.2%:

Nonfarm payroll employment changed little in May (+69,000), and the unemployment rate was essentially unchanged at 8.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, transportation and warehousing, and wholesale trade but declined in construction. Employment was little changed in most other major industries.

The long-term unemployed jumped up by 300,000 as well, while participation ratios rose:

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose from 5.1 to 5.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 42.8 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate increased in May by 0.2 percentage point to 63.8 percent, offsetting a decline of the same amount in April. The employment- population ratio edged up to 58.6 percent in May. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) edged up to 8.1 million over the month. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In other words, this is an unmitigated flop.

As noted, U-3 (the topline jobless rate) went from 8.1% to 8.2%, the first increase of any kind in that measure since June 2011.  The U-6 figure, which comprises all unemployed and marginally attached workers, rose from 14.5% to 14.8%.  The only really positive news was a fairly significant drop in the number of people not in the labor force, which went from 88.419 million to 87.958 million, a difference of 461,000 workers.  However, the increase in underutilization tempers that improvement quite a bit.

CNBC reports that job creation stalled out in May, and warns of another Recovery Summer summertime swoon:

The American jobs engine hit stall speed in May, with the economy adding just 69,000 new jobs while the unemployment rate climbed to 8.2 percent.

As another summertime swoon looms, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that job creation missed economist estimates for 158,000 new positions, and said labor force participation remains near 30-year lows though incrementally better than last month.

The unemployment rate that counts discouraged workers rose as well, swelling to 14.8 percent.

In May, stocks suffered through their worst month in two years, and the job-creation figures only added to the gloom.

Stock market futures indicated a sharply lower open for Wall Street, while investors continued to pour into bonds, sending the 10-year Treasury note yield tumbling to near 1.47 percent.

The AP points out that this is the worst jobs report in a year, as I did above.  The report also notes that the BLS revised the previous two month’s figures sharply downward, knocking 49,000 off of those figures:

U.S. employers created 69,000 jobs in May, the fewest in a year, and theunemployment rate ticked up. The dismal jobs figures could fan fears that the economy is sputtering.

The Labor Department also says the economy created far fewer jobs in the previous two months than first thought. It revised those figures down to show 49,000 fewer jobs created. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April, the first increase in 11 months.

Finally, no round-up would be complete without checking in with Reuters, where bad news is usually unexpectedNot today, however:

Job growth in May was the weakest in a year and employers added far fewer jobs in the prior two months than previously reported, suggesting the economic recovery was faltering.

Employers created a paltry 69,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, the fewest since May last year. Economists polled by Reuters had expected nonfarm payrolls to increase 150,000.

In addition, employers added 49,000 fewer jobs than previously estimated in March and April. The unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent as people flocked into the labor market.

Barack Obama had been expected to talk about jobs and the economy in his campaign stop today at a Honeywell plant in Minnesota.  There is no positive spin that can be put on this report.  It’s an indictment of Obama’s stagnation and incompetence at economics.  That doesn’t mean Obama won’t try to spin this as a positive report, so be sure to keep an eye on his response today.

Update: Yesterday’s surprise appearance at Solyndra resulted in a new ad from Mitt Romney’s campaign attacking Barack Obama on job growth and stimulus. This is not just serendipity — the Romney campaign was ready for this report:

“The President fails to understand the basic nature of free enterprise in America.”  Today, that message may resonate even more.  The turnaround time on this spot is rather amazing — less than 24 hours.


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