America Flatlines – Employment Report for June 2011

The “recovery” is flat-lining. The employment report for June shows the continuing bad news.  I’ll let CalculatedRisk give us the facts:

From the BLS:

Nonfarm payroll employment was essentially unchanged in June (+18,000), and the unemployment rate was little changed at 9.2 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in most major private-sector industries changed little over the month. Government employment continued to trend down.

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for April was revised from +232,000 to +217,000, and the change for May was revised from +54,000 to +25,000.

The unemployment rate increased to 9.2% (red line).

Percent Job Losses During Recessions…graph shows the job losses from the start of the employment recession, in percentage terms aligned at maximum job losses. The dotted line is ex-Census hiring.

The current employment recession is by far the worst recession since WWII in percentage terms, and 2nd worst in terms of the unemployment rate (only the early ’80s recession with a peak of 10.8 percent was worse).

This was very weak and well below expectations for payroll jobs, and the unemployment rate was higher than expected (both worse). A terrible report.

Although the Wall Street types and other analysts “expected” a better report, this really isn’t surprising. What it shows is the effect of fiscal policy. For over a year now, the actual effect of fiscal policy has been contractionary.  Despite the misleading rhetoric of the Republicans, the Tea Party types, and the President, government spending has not been increasing for at least a year.  The stimulus is over. It was done awhile ago.  And it wasn’t much of a stimulus anyway relative to the scale of the problem.  In fact, the federal government surge in spending in 2009, the so-called “stimulus” wasn’t really a stimulus.  It was an attempt to limit and delay the damage from massive state and local government spending cuts.

You would think that month-after-month of poor employment and job reports like we’ve seen this year would cause somebody in official Washington to be concerned.  You would be wrong.  Instead, the talk is all about how to cut spending further, faster, and deeper.  Apparently 9.2% unemployment rate, no real increase in the number of employed, and 545,000 new unemployed people is just fine and dandy with official Washington.

5 thoughts on “America Flatlines – Employment Report for June 2011

  1. I understand why the Republicans are advocating contractionary policies. They want high unemployment going into the next presidential election cycle. They care more about power than solving the problem (and that’s stating it kindly). What I don’t understand is the Presidents message in all of this. Does he not get it? Does he feel trapped into the populist view that our deficit is causing the employment gap? Forget simply doing the right thing. His political survival is dependent upon people having jobs.

    • I agree. It’s pretty clear that the Republicans are willing to sacrifice the economy in the hope of having a terrible economy in 2012 and therefore an easier Republican challenge.
      As for Obama, I can only speculate. I suppose it’s a mix of two things. I don’t think Obama personally is either very knowledgeable or interested in the economics concepts. He’s more interested in the politics and in appearing to be “non-partisan”. The other aspect is that I think Obama’s political advisors are going by what they think will generate the most finance-industry campaign contributions. Finance industry was a major, major contributor in 2008 to him. The economic pain simply isn’t real to the political advisors.

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