August jobs report: 96,000 jobs added, unemployment 8.1%, 30-year low in workforce participation rate

posted at 8:31 am on September 7, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The Bureau of Labor Statistics delivered yet another disappointing jobs report, this time the morning after Barack Obama’s speech claiming to be taking the nation in the right direction. Only 96,000 jobs were added to the economy, and while the jobless rate edged downward to 8.1%, that came from even more people leaving the workforce:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 96,000 in August, and the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.

The unemployment rate edged down in August to 8.1 percent. Since the beginning of this year, the rate has held in a narrow range of 8.1 to 8.3 percent. The number of unemployed persons, at 12.5 million, was little changed in August. …

Both the civilian labor force (154.6 million) and the labor force participation rate (63.5 percent) declined in August. The employment-population ratio, at 58.3 percent, was little changed.

That’s a new 30-year low in the civilian participation rate, lower than April’s 63.6%.  That’s the reason for the decline in the jobless rate.  The workforce decline artificially depresses the official unemployment rate.  If we had the same level of civilian participation as we did at the beginning of the recovery in June 2009 (65.7%), we’d be looking at a jobless rate of well over 10%.  The employment-population ratio dropped to 58.3% in August, not as low as last year’s 58.2%, but still bouncing along a generational bottom.  That measure was 59.4% at the beginning of the recovery.  Update: The workforce shrank by 368,000.

Interestingly, the U-6 measure declined to 14.7%.  As people leave the workforce, that number should increase.  Looking at the disconnect between the two, I’d guess that the number of people claiming disability went back up again, too. Looking at the A-6 table, it shows only a 29,000 jump in August, far below the nearly 300K increase in July.

CNBC reports that the previously sunny July report got downwardly revised, as did June, and that the report missed expectations in a big way:

But job reports for June and July were revised lower. The June count fell from 64,000 to 45,000, while July’s number came in at 141,000 from an originally reported 163,000.

Despite hopes that job creation would be better than expected, the monthly report fell short of economist expectations that 125,000 jobs were added for the month. The government said private payrolls increased by 103,000, about half the 201,000 that ADP reported Thursday.

Reuters also notes the big miss, and wonders whether the Fed will intervene now:

Jobs growth slowed more than expected in August, setting the stage for the Federal Reserve to pump additional money into the sluggish economy next week and dealing a blow to President Obama as he seeks reelection in November.

Nonfarm payrolls increased only 96,000 last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. While the unemployment rate dropped to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, it was largely due to Americans giving up the search for work. …

Economists polled by Reuters had expected payrolls to rise 125,000 last month, but some had pushed their forecasts higher after upbeat data on Thursday.

The economy has experienced three years of growth since the 2007-09 recession, but the expansion has been grudging and the jobless rate has held above 8 percent for more than three years — the longest stretch since the Great Depression.

A Fed intervention won’t help the economy; the product of the previous two QE efforts dissipated rapidly, as these numbers make very clear.  It will only serve to anger the public, which will rightly question why the political class hasn’t taken steps to resolve the regulatory and fiscal policies that drive stagnation.  That won’t help Obama, who barely mentioned jobs at all in his speech last night.

Update: I added “participation rate” to the headline for a more precise statement.


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The news channels have reported this as weak and disappointing.

Romney/Ryan/Clint have been focusing on the 23 million unemployed number which doesn’t really change when the gov’t rate drops from 8.3 to 8.1. Lots of people giving up.

monalisa on September 7, 2012 at 9:46 AM

“Preserve socialism”. – Romney, 2012

astonerii on September 7, 2012 at 9:42 AM

Howard Johnson – Vote for me and get a free hotel stay 2012

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Who cares about the jobs report? Didn’t Obama give a great speech last night. Ummm, ummm!

senor on September 7, 2012 at 9:49 AM

Employment-population ratio

ITguy on September 7, 2012 at 9:50 AM

this economy the media sucks donkey balls.

karenhasfreedom on September 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM

bayview on September 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM

bayview on September 7, 2012 at 9:51 AM

Why choose? The economy and the presstitute organs both suck donkey balls.

Steve Eggleston on September 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Better off.

vcferlita on September 7, 2012 at 9:54 AM

Seems to me that the revisions to previous numbers have been almost uniformly downward. If the modeling is reasonably accurate, I would think they would tend to a net 0 in revising numbers.

The only reasons I can come up with for this are that:

1. we are in a unique situation that is confounding the models.
2. The models inaccurate and in need of revising.
3. Someone is cooking the books.
4. some combination of the above.

OBQuiet on September 7, 2012 at 10:00 AM

We have a child in charge, nothing will change till he is gone.

They played a game with the numbers yesterday and dropped the bomb today.

TroubledMonkey on September 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM

Actually the majority of the media is not spinning this as badly as we predicted. I’d say 80% of the media reports are calling it a bad report throughout and even pointing out the 8.1% number as misleading. Yet, they are reserved in their reporting, which juxtaposed with a Bush report like this which would accompany “Armageddon” headlines and panic within the media.

Bensonofben on September 7, 2012 at 10:02 AM

Reuters also notes the big miss, and wonders whether the Fed will intervene now

Like it would matter.

The Fed ran out of bullets long ago.

Bye-bye Barry. I’d say it was nice knowing you, but it wasn’t.

Hope the door hits you in your Commie azz on your way out.

AZCoyote on September 7, 2012 at 10:03 AM

SDarchitect on September 7, 2012 at 8:52 AM

The advantage is that no one watches CNN – and only far left libs watch MSNBC.

Zomcon JEM on September 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

When the vast majority of voters in every poll including the liberal biased poll say we are heading in the wrong direction for the last 4 years despite that the figures released by the government show that the unemployment number has been going down then this clearly indicates that the majority of voters think that unemployment rate is higher than published and they do not believe the unemployment rate numbers released by the government… It is that simple…

mnjg on September 7, 2012 at 9:32 AM

No, see, your claim was that the majority is aware the unemployment number is manipulated. Your inference from one answer to one question (heading in the wrong direction) to the other (unemployment numbers are manipulated) is not logical or even serious.

You make statements you can’t back up with facts. When you see someone you disagree with, especially someone who continues to disagree with you right back, you start calling names. Know what I call that? A LOW INFORMATION VOTER. That is what you are. You denied that such a person even exists (as they would never vote republican) and yet here you are.

Now would you care to take it down a notch and try arguing from a position based on facts? I’d love to be involved in that discussion, but I won’t shy away from a bully who demands I think like him.

runawayyyy on September 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

David Burge ‏@iowahawkblog

Good news, labor force dropouts! As a reward for helping keep the official UE low, President Obama is giving you a non-participation ribbon.

steebo77 on September 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

Howard Johnson – Vote for me and get a free hotel stay 2012

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Howard Johnson hotels are government-ice-machine-free.

steebo77 on September 7, 2012 at 10:07 AM

The contrast between CNBC and MSNBC was amazing this morning.

CNBC – “It’s rigged! It’s a sham!”

MSNBC – “What great news”!

I usually think “How can Scraby do this”? But then I realize, “he knows the economy is tanking, so job security is the utmost importance”.

Except right now, Scarby could split for either FNC or CNN with some actual negotiating leverage.

budfox on September 7, 2012 at 10:07 AM

Employment increased in food services and drinking places, in professional and technical services, and in health care.

Drinking places and health care? Oh yeah, we are definitely on the road to recovery.

Dollayo on September 7, 2012 at 10:10 AM

Howard Johnson – Vote for me and get a free hotel stay 2012

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

Sadly something like that would work to get votes from Republican voters this year. They all want something free. They all want to abstain from paying for their own way. They all want the bill put on someone else’s tab. Hence why Romney, the steady as she goes candidate won and the candidates with actual factual plans to cut spending… well, stop being mean!
If Romney wins, I personally hope he fails, this generation as a whole completely deserves to live through a full on total depression like the 30s. No generation in the history of this nation have been as selfish, irresponsible and downright socialist as this one. I just pray they are unable to pass on to the next generation the bill they are planning to pass on. That is what happens when people do not have families, they are just in it for themselves.

astonerii on September 7, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Budfox- There are two people that I was surprised at this past week. Scraby obviously has succumbed to being a boy-toy to the liberals that swooned him the past week. He no longer hits the softballs that his democrat guests throw his way every morning. More often- he nods.

Yet Clinton going to bat (another ball metaphor) for Obama who he knows has basically ruined the economy is idiotic. He had small credibility before as I believed he may put country first over party. Now I know he’d rather see this country continue to decline as long as the Republicans are not in power.

Bensonofben on September 7, 2012 at 10:12 AM

Wow…no wonder Obama gave such a dud of a speech last night. No way would I be able to come up with any enthusiasm after seeing a report like that either. He got HORRIBLE news on the night of his big winner speech, and he just could NOT put himself into it. I think if he had at least been able to generate and infuse it with some kind of passion, it might have helped a little…but with how partisan and pandering the speech was, with no passion added to it either, it was just one HUGE flop. Romney/Ryan are going to win this by a landslide if the jobs reports keep on as bad as this one is.

Highlar on September 7, 2012 at 10:18 AM

No, see, your claim was that the majority is aware the unemployment number is manipulated. Your inference from one answer to one question (heading in the wrong direction) to the other (unemployment numbers are manipulated) is not logical or even serious.

You make statements you can’t back up with facts. When you see someone you disagree with, especially someone who continues to disagree with you right back, you start calling names. Know what I call that? A LOW INFORMATION VOTER. That is what you are. You denied that such a person even exists (as they would never vote republican) and yet here you are.

Now would you care to take it down a notch and try arguing from a position based on facts? I’d love to be involved in that discussion, but I won’t shy away from a bully who demands I think like him.

runawayyyy on September 7, 2012 at 10:05 AM

My conclusion is very logical and is correct and it is backed with facts… Government figures show that unemployment rate has been dropping but yet a vast majority of voters according to all polls including the liberal biased ones are saying that we are heading in the wrong direction… This proves that a majority of voters do not believe, and correctly so, the unemployment numbers released by the government… This is a fact that cannot be disputed… There is no need for a specific poll asking voters if they believe the government unemployment figures… The answer to this can be easily concluded from other polling data… It is that simple…

mnjg on September 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

Steve Eggleston on September 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM

Verbatim definition of a fluffer.

donkichi on September 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Team Romney needs to plaster this everywhere…

http://twitter.com/andreamsaul/status/244074879719178242

For every person lucky enough to find a job last month, nearly FOUR gave up looking.

Just put up 15 second ad stating this fact… ending it with “it’s time for a new direction”.

ninjapirate on September 7, 2012 at 10:22 AM

A few more historic lows for the good of the order:

Labor force participation rate – men 16 and older – 69.8% (lowest since statistics were kept in 1948)
Labor force participtation rate – men 20 and older – 72.7% (again, lowest since statistics were kept in 1948)
Labor force participation rate – women 16 and older – 57.6% (tied for lowest since December 1991)
Labor force participation rate – women 20 and older – 59.3% (except for July 2012, lowest since June 1995)

Steve Eggleston on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

My conclusion is very logical and is correct and it is backed with facts… Government figures show that unemployment rate has been dropping but yet a vast majority of voters according to all polls including the liberal biased ones are saying that we are heading in the wrong direction… This proves that a majority of voters do not believe, and correctly so, the unemployment numbers released by the government… This is a fact that cannot be disputed… There is no need for a specific poll asking voters if they believe the government unemployment figures… The answer to this can be easily concluded from other polling data… It is that simple…

mnjg on September 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

It’s not what you see but what you feel and what your neighbors feel.

My neighbor is laid off

Conservative4ev on September 7, 2012 at 10:23 AM

Howard Johnson – Vote for me and get a free hotel stay 2012

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

“Howard Johnson is right!” – Blazing Saddles

Doughboy on September 7, 2012 at 10:24 AM

Hey, they’re working on it. There are two ways to make employment keep up with the population. First is to make jobs, but second is to decrease the population. So, free abortions for everyone!

xuyee on September 7, 2012 at 10:29 AM

Sad to say that all Democrats will see is that it went from 8.3% 8.254% to 8.1%… Forward!

rhombus on September 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

*sigh*

..how quickly you all forget!

The War Planner on September 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

My conclusion is very logical and is correct and it is backed with facts… Government figures show that unemployment rate has been dropping but yet a vast majority of voters according to all polls including the liberal biased ones are saying that we are heading in the wrong direction… This proves that a majority of voters do not believe, and correctly so, the unemployment numbers released by the government… This is a fact that cannot be disputed… There is no need for a specific poll asking voters if they believe the government unemployment figures… The answer to this can be easily concluded from other polling data… It is that simple…

mnjg on September 7, 2012 at 10:19 AM

I saw what you said the first time. This says nothing different except “you have to believe me because you have to believe me”.

The answer to the question “Is the country headed in the right direction?” can mean any number of things. First off, it’s asking an opinion. The person answering can be thinking of govt spending (some think it’s too high, some too low, but both agree on wrong direction). Or they can be thinking of national debt (some can think it’s too high, some just fine, only one thinks wrong direction).

And they can be thinking of the unemployment rate. But even if every single one of them was thinking about this, that still gives you NO EVIDENCE that they are aware (i.e. KNOW) that the number is manipulated, just that some think it’s too high. That was the claim you made, and you have yet to back it up with a single fact.

Care to try again?

runawayyyy on September 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

Sad to say that all Democrats wll see is that it went from 8.3% 8.254% to 8.1% 8.111%… Forward!

rhombus on September 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM

*sigh*

..how quickly you all forget!

The War Planner on September 7, 2012 at 10:31 AM

It’s a 1.43-point drop (which doesn’t round up to 1.5 points, much less 2), and as noted above, entirely due to people giving up looking for work.

Steve Eggleston on September 7, 2012 at 10:40 AM

I have a hard time believing that the election is going to be all that close. How many nights are Obama supporters willing to be sleeping in a racecar bed back at their mom’s house before they wake up and understand that whatever the problem is, the rat-eared bastard is not the solution?

Happy Nomad on September 7, 2012 at 10:43 AM

Care to try again?

runawayyyy on September 7, 2012 at 10:36 AM

I do not need to… I just destroyed your doom and gloom stupidity but you can go ahead and say that voters are stupid and Obama is invincible…

mnjg on September 7, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Oh ! To be able to tap into the Axelrod/Cutter/Carney/DWS conference call this morning.
Would be a thing of beauty.

Jabberwock on September 7, 2012 at 11:06 AM

CNBC reports that the previously sunny July report got downwardly revised, as did June

…what month hasn’t?

KOOLAID2 on September 7, 2012 at 11:10 AM

The MSM is gonna have to decide fairly quickly (for their own relevance – and job security) if they still want to cling on to the S.S. O’Butthead or hit the lifeboats.

Iceberg dead ahead.

ICanSeeNovFromMyHouse on September 7, 2012 at 11:16 AM

Check this out via Drudge: “88,921,000 Americans not in labor force” and click on the link in the first line of the CNSnews story “record high of 88,921,000″ and study the BLS spreadsheet that opens–these are the interesting numbers. With almost 47 million on food stamps, this number is very believeable. 8 million less in the labor force since Obama’s regime began.

stukinIL4now on September 7, 2012 at 11:26 AM

Has DWS stated that these numbers are not the actual numbers yet or are they going to send Cutter out to tell us it was actually 9,600,000 jobs created?

Ellis on September 7, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Check this out via Drudge: “88,921,000 Americans not in labor force” and click on the link in the first line of the CNSnews story “record high of 88,921,000″ and study the BLS spreadsheet that opens–these are the interesting numbers. With almost 47 million on food stamps, this number is very believeable. 8 million less in the labor force since Obama’s regime began.

stukinIL4now

These numbers need to be published over and over and over again. 8.1% is utterly meaningless.

EL on September 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

What’s really depressing about Democrats cooking the labor statistics is that the numbers are still so bad! Is this really the best you can do?

When cooking the books, go big. At least that way the alternate universe being created has some fictional appeal. These numbers, and the guilty revisions published for months afterward, are just terrible. A false set of reports should at least give the country a temporary sugar rush. Amateurs.

MTF on September 7, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Howard Johnson – Vote for me and get a free hotel stay 2012

Bishop on September 7, 2012 at 9:47 AM

You gotta figure that if nothing else he could reinvigorate the travel and tourism industry. He wouldn’t say stupid things like “stay out of Las Vegas”.

slickwillie2001 on September 7, 2012 at 12:21 PM

An actual explanation from a progressive yesterday in a debate I jumped to after hearing for the 1 million time how “scary” that dude Romney is:

“I don’t care about the economy. I don’t follow the numbers. But the economy is fine. The people I know are working and those who aren’t is because they are lazy. What I care about is fixing human rights in this country, and racism, and women’s rights, and gay rights. That’s what matters and why Obama is better than Romney. He has a plan. I don’t care what he did in the last 4 years. What I care is what he is saying now. Romney is scary. He is talking about business all the time, which doesn’t matter, Besides, look at his religion. He will get us into wars.”

I am paraphrasing to sum up what was a looong conversation (in which I lost half of my hair from pulling so hard). The had had no clue of any numbers, facts, or anything else. He is voting Obama just because of gays and abortions. Oh, and women’s pay equality, which of course he had no idea what the numbers were until I brought it up.

And sadly, the other people around us side with him.

ptcamn on September 7, 2012 at 1:22 PM

I ran the numbers comparing January, 2009, to August, 2012:

January 2009:

Civilian non-institution population: 234.739m
Civilian labour force: 153.716m
Employed: 142.099m
Employment-population ratio: 61.3
Unemployed: 11.616m
Not in labour force: 81.023m
Not in the labour force, but who want a job now: 5.62m
Part-time, but want full-time job: 8.038m
Participation Rate: 65.5%
Average Weeks Unemployed: 19.8
Unemployment rate: 7.6%

August 2012:

Civilian non-institutional population: 243.566 m
Civilian labour force: 154.645m
Employed: 142.101m
Employment-population ratio: 58.3
Unemployed: 12.544m
Not in labour force: 88.921m
Not in the labour force, but who want a job now: 6.929m
Part-time, but want full-time job: 10.538m
Participation rate: 63.5%
Average Weeks Unemployed: 39.2
Unemployment rate: 8.1%

Percentage Change:

Civilian non-institutional population: +3.76% increase
Civilian labour force: +0.604% increase
Employed: +0.001 % increase
Employment-population ratio: -4.894% decrease
Unemployed: +7.989% increase
Not in labour force: +9.748% increase
Not in the labour force, but who want a job now: +23.292% increase
Part-time, but want full-time job: +31.102% increase
Participation rate: -3.053% decrease
Average Weeks Unemployed: +97.98% increase
Unemployment rate: +6.579% increase

Among the major worker groups:

Nationally, the U-3 rate for whites was 6.3%, a decrease from 6.5% in July. The unemployment rate for adult white men dropped to 6.3% from 6.8% in July, for adult white women decreased from 7.4% in July to 6.9 % in August, and unemployment amongst white teenagers increased from, 21.5% to 22.8%.

Nationally, the U-3 rate for blacks is 14.5%, a decrease from 15.0% in July. The unemployment rate for adult black men dropped to 13.8% from 14.9 in July, unemployment rate for black women increased to 13.2% — up from 12.7% in July, and black teenaged unemployment increased to 38.8% – up from 38.1% in July.

Nationally, the U-3 rate for Hispanics was 10.1% for August, a decrease from 10.3% in July. The unemployment rate for adult Hispanic men dropped to 8.1% from 8.2% in July, unemployment rate for Hispanic women decreased to 10.3% (10.5% in July), and the Hispanic teenage unemployment rate stands at 29.0%.

The unemployment rate for Asians 5.9%, an increase from 6.2% in July.

Resist We Much on September 7, 2012 at 3:32 PM

There were 2.116 million more workers suffering long-term unemployment of 27 weeks or more in August, 2012, than when Obama started “working to put the middle class back to work” in February, 2009.

02.09: 2.917 million

07.12: 5.033 million

That’s a 72.54% increase in the number of Americans, who have been unemployed for an average of 27 weeks or more.

BUT, the unemployment rate for government workers went from 5.6% in July, 2012, to 5.1% in August, 2012.

Good news, good news, good news! /s

Resist We Much on September 7, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Can we call it a depression now? For 89 million it is.

dogsoldier on September 7, 2012 at 6:22 PM

How do they explain that?

JoeHanson on September 7, 2012 at 8:39 AM

I would think when the people that retire right now never have the jobs filled. We do that at my place of work all the time… when someone leaves a post they will not re post or fill it if there is not enough need for it…

watertown on September 7, 2012 at 10:05 PM

Ed, the product of the last quantitative easings still lingers on as a component of the inflation we’re dealing with. It’s printing money, pure and simple. That has NEVER worked. It killed the Wiemar Republic, Hungary, and others leading to world wide nastiness. It killed Zimbabwe. It just plain does not work.

I’d rather not pay for my food with a wheelbarrow of worthless currency. Hm, it might be interesting to figure out how this would work with credit cards. I am sure it won’t be pretty.

{^_^}

herself on September 8, 2012 at 4:52 AM

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