Unemployment rose in most states in July

posted at 2:01 pm on August 19, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

How did Barack Obama’s Magical Economy Tour do in convincing Americans to stay the course on Obamanomics?  Not only did it fail to impress voters, it didn’t do much for employers, either.  According to new data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, joblessness rose in 28 states while only falling in eight — the worst showing since January:

Unemployment rates rose in more than half of U.S. states in July and fewer states added jobs, echoing national data that show the job market may have lost some momentum.

The Labor Department says unemployment rates increased in 28 states. They were unchanged in 14 and fell in eight states — the fewest to show a decline since January.

Hiring increased in 32 states in July compared with June, the fewest in three months. Seventeen states reported job losses. California, Georgia and Florida reported the largest job gains, while New Jersey and Nevada lost the most.

As last week’s economic indicators showed, layoffs have slacked up a bit, but so have wages:

Real average hourly earnings for all employees fell 0.2 percent from June to July, seasonally adjusted, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. This decline stems from a 0.1 percent decrease in average hourly earnings and a 0.2 percent increase in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U).

Real average weekly earnings fell 0.5 percent over the month due to the decrease in real average hourly earnings and a 0.3 percent decrease in the average workweek.

Real average hourly earnings fell 0.1 percent, seasonally adjusted, from July 2012 to July 2013. The decrease in real average hourly earnings, combined with an unchanged average workweek, resulted in a 0.1 percent decrease in real average weekly earnings over this period.

Earlier this month, the Obama administration touted a drop in the national unemployment rate to 7.4% as proof that Obamanomics was slowly healing the job market.  The drop got a lot of media attention, but less so the drop in the civilian workforce participation rate, which distorts the official joblessness rate.  As James Pethokoukis pointed out at the time, the jobless rate would be 7.8% if the participation rate was the same as a year ago, or 10.7% at the participation rate in June 2009, the technical start of the recovery from the Great Recession.

These figures demonstrate again the stagnant state of the American economy, and other indicators show why it won’t rebound any time soon.  Thanks to ObamaCare, we have transformed the labor market into a part-time jobs model, with 97% of net job growth in the first two quarters coming in part-time work.  Small wonder people are withdrawing from the workforce, and that will have an impact on spending and investment now and for the foreseeable future.

Speaking of which, guess who gets back from vacation today?

President Obama faces a full agenda when he returns from vacation this weekend, one that includes budget battles and health-care fights — and that was before Egypt descended into near-chaos this week.

Pressuring Egypt’s military government into holding new elections is the latest addition to a crowded fall political calendar that could make or break Obama’s second term.

The president is scheduled to return Sunday evening from his week-long vacation at Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

In the days and months ahead, Obama will seek to put in place key parts of his health care law, pursue a landmark immigration bill, and — perhaps most important in the short run — avoid a government shutdown and another crisis over the debt ceiling.

Obama talked about jobs as he left for vacation … briefly, and predictably:

At a pre-vacation news conference, Obama said he didn’t expect congressional Republicans to back a government shutdown “at a time when the recovery is getting some traction” and jobs are starting to come back.

Except that they’re not starting to come back at all.  We may not be losing jobs at the rate of the last couple of years, but we’re not improving job creation, especially in full-time work.  Workers are losing ground, and all of the magical talk from Obama on his tour won’t cover for that reality.


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