Policy: Labor

White House doesn't thank Recovery Act for jobs report this month

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Beltway Confidential,White House,Jobs,Labor,Ashe Schow

July's mediocre jobs report didn't prompt the White House to thank the Recovery Act like it did last month. Instead, Alan Kreuger, chairman of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, reiterated the tired talking point that "more work remains to be done" but that "today's employment report provides further confirmation that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression."

It's no wonder the White House wouldn't want to claim victory for the Recovery Act again. Just as with last month's jobs numbers, the mediocre report this month is not something the Obama administration should want to take credit for.

The economy added 162,000 jobs in July, which was worse than expected. If the economy added that many jobs every month, unemployment would not return to pre-recession levels until 2024. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised downward the number of jobs added in May from 195,000 to 176,000 (-19,000) and June from 195,000 to 188,000 (-7,000). Yet another "Recovery Summer" indeed.

The unemployment rate did drop to 7.4 percent, but the picture is still bleak when broken down into demographics:

• Men: 7 percent (unchanged from June)

• Women: 6.5 percent (down from 6.8 percent)

• Teens: 23.7 percent (down from 24 percent)

• Whites: 6.6 percent (unchanged)

• Blacks: 12.6 percent (down from 13.7 percent)

• Hispanics: 9.4 percent (up from 9.1 percent)

• Asians: 5.7 percent (up from 5 percent)

• Americans with no high school degree: 11 percent (up from 10.7 percent)

• Americans with college degree or higher: 3.8 percent (down from 3.9 percent)

Other disturbing numbers: The number of Americans employed part-time was unchanged from June, but discouraged workers (those who have given up looking for work) increased by 136,000 since June.

Further, the real unemployment rate, the U-6 rate (which includes total unemployed, including part-time workers) fell to 14 percent from 14.3 percent in June, but is still higher than it was in May (13.8 percent).

There are 11.5 million Americans who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks. Worse still, if the labor force participation rate was back to July 2012 levels, the unemployment rate would be 7.8 percent. If the participation rate was back to January 2009 levels (before the recession even ended), the unemployment rate would be 10.7 percent.

One last depressing statistic: Of the 953,000 jobs created so far in 2013, 731,000 (77 percent) are part-time jobs.

Another jobs report no one should be proud of.

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