Early projections for the August jobs report weren’t looking very good. Some of the estimates were putting the number around 80,000 which would have been far short of what we need just to keep up with population growth, even taking into account the fact that August is usually a slow month. But when the real report came out, the actual number was a bit short of even that estimate… by about 80,000.
Employers added no net workers last month and the unemployment rate was unchanged, a sign that many were nervous the U.S. economy is at risk of slipping into another recession.
The Labor Department says total payrolls were unchanged in August, the weakest report in almost a year. It’s the first time since February 1945 that the government has reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent.
When you break a record that’s stood since World War 2, that’s certainly… errr… something.
To be fair, the report goes on to note that we wouldn’t have rung up a complete goose egg were it not for the fact that 45,000 Verizon workers were on strike. They have since returned to work. Still, this keeps the unemployment rate at 9.1% with not much hope for help coming on the horizon.
The stock market, which had just begun to climb out of it’s most recent hole, is already reacting. The open today looks to be down slightly as confidence continues to sag. Additional factors being attributed include, “Weak growth, a downgrade of long-term U.S. debt in early August and a sell-off on Wall Street [which] likely kept some businesses from hiring.”
I sure hope that jobs speech next week is a humdinger.
Update (Ed): Dean Wormer gives his assessment, via Dave Weigel on Twitter:
Also, note that the jobs-added numbers for June and July were revised downward by 58,000 — meaning that even with the Verizon strikers in mind, we’re actually talking about a different movie:
UPDATE 2: (Jazz) Speaking of movies, this jobs report comes out on the 26th anniversary of the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic. Coincidence?
Update 3 (Ed): The first version of the clip had the entire trailer for a rather lousy film, so I’ve taken pity on everyone and cut right to the punch line by replacing it above.