July Jobs Report: +163,000, Unemployment Rate up to 8.3%
It’s that time of the month again. Everyone closely following the presidential election is closely looking at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly jobs report. According to the BLS, the economy added a net of 163,000 jobs in July, but the unemployment ticked up to 8.3%.
The good news for President Barack Obama is that the report beat the 100,000 consensus estimate from observers. The +163,000 does, though just barely, surpass the number of +125,000 to +150,000 needed just to keep up with population growth. The bad news is that some 150,000 workers left the labor force last month, the U-6 employment increased to 15%, and the numbers for June were revised downward, from +80,000 to +64,000. Also, the number of unemployed increased by 45,000 in July.
Basically, the hard number of jobs created last month is good for Obama. But the fact that unemployment is still over 8% for the 42nd straight month is a point that is going to be hammered home by Mitt Romney and Republicans.
James Pethokoukis, an economist at the American Enterprise Institute, notes that unemployment would 11% if the labor force participation were at the same size as when Obama took office. He also points out that “[i]If labor force participation rate hadn’t declined since just last month, unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4% [in July].”
There are three more jobs reports to go between now and the election in November. Things have to get better than this if Obama hopes to be re-elected.
Image courtesy of the American Enterprise Institute