So we’re in our third year of recovery — Year Four begins in June — and yet we’re still hitting record monthly deficits. Maybe it has something to do with today’s jobs report. Officially, the unemployment rate is 8.3%. Gallup says 9.1%. Jim Pethokoukis tweeted earlier that the rate is 10.8%, if the labor participation rate were the same as it was when President Obama was sworn in.
The Feds claim underemployment decreased slightly to a miserable 14.9%. Gallup figures it’s more than four points higher, at 19.1%. BLS says, I’m sure, “Who are you going to believe — me or your own lying eyes?”
Here are some figures from below the fold:
Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 227,000 in February. Private-sector employment
grew by 233,000.
This is good, since the public sector shed a few thousand jobs. Fewer locusts helps with the crops.
Professional and business services added 82,000 jobs in February. Just over half of
the increase occurred in temporary help services (+45,000).
Whoops. That’s not helping the U-6.
In February, employment in leisure and hospitality increased by 44,000, with nearly all
of the increase in food services and drinking places (+41,000).
Drinks all around! Good.
Manufacturing employment rose by 31,000 in February. All of the increase occurred in
durable goods manufacturing, with job gains in fabricated metal products (+11,000),
transportation equipment (+8,000), machinery (+5,000), and furniture and related
Interesting, because durable goods orders were down sharply in January. Is there a disconnect here? A glitch in the numbers? Dunno.
Overall? 227,000 net jobs is OK — for the end of a robust recovery. We never had one of those, which is why underemployment remains stuck somewhere between 15-19%. There are still millions fewer Employed Americans than there were when the economy finally bottomed out in June, 2009. And construction jobs actually declined by 14,000 last month, and retailers shook off 35,000 employees, indicating we’re still pretty deep in the hole.