The U.S. economy created more jobs than expected in July, but lowered expectations have contributed to an optimistic market reaction even as unemployment rose to 8.3%. The unemployment rate has now remained stuck above 8% for 41 consecutive months. No incumbent president since the Second World War has ever been re-elected with unemployment above 8%.
Meanwhile, June’s jobs numbers, which were an anemic 80,000, were revised down by the Department of Labor to just 64,000. Today’s July numbers of 164,000 will probably meet a similar revision next month.
Real unemployment in the U.S., which takes into account people who have given up and stopped looking for work, remains around 15%.
Update: Mitt Romney responds:
Today’s increase in the unemployment rate is a hammer blow to struggling middle-class families. Yesterday I launched my Plan for a Stronger Middle Class that will bring more jobs and more take home pay. My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term. President Obama doesn’t have a plan and believes that the private sector is “doing fine.” Obviously, that is not the case. We’ve now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above eight percent. Middle class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better.