The economy added 117,000 new jobs in July, reducing the unemployment rate to a still horrendous 9.1 percent. The figures exceeded analysts' expectations, which may be the needed tonic to the fear of a second recession that has caused the stock market to plummet in the past few days.
It should be noted that the private sector accounted for 154,000 new jobs last month, across a broad range of economc sectors, but these gains were hampered by a loss of 37,000 government jobs. Remember that fact the next time you hear someone say that cutting government spending is the way to promote job growth.
As well, the report today revised the earlier reports for May and June upward - they were not as dismal as first feared. The June figures were especially noteworthy. This time last month, the initial Dept. of Labot report indicated that the economy had only added 18,000 new jobs in June, a figure that was stunningly small. That number was revised up to a still anemic 46,000 new jobs. But, I wonder if the gloom-and-doom would have been so great this past month is we had not been confronted with that 18k number in early July.
One other point about the jobs picture. You can be sure it would be worse if the government had not bailed out the auto industry, a bailout that is still denounced regularly by GOP presidential candidates and Fox News talking heads. Of course, the car companies are doing well, are paying back their loans to the government ahead of time, and the industry is in a solid position to move forward - and the thousands of small businesses that depend upon the auto industry are continuing to remain open and their staffs employed. So, the next time someone denounces the auto bailout, ask them what they think the unemployment rate would be if we had not done it?