When economists are expecting 100,000 or so net new jobs, and the Labor Department reports measly gains of just 18,000 (plus an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.2 percent), the reaction sounds like this:
– “All in all, an employment report with no redeeming features whatsoever – employment, unemployment, hours and wages all disappointed.”- Barclays
– ”The June jobs report was a shocker. It was far worse than expected, and weak on all key dimensions – job creation, unemployment, the length of the workweek, and hourly earnings. The recent pattern of jobs suggests that the economy hit a brick wall in May.” — IHS Global
– “Overall the June Employment Report was quite disappointing, with basically no positive offsets to the poor headline results.” — Goldman Sachs
– ”The June employment report was universally weak and undoes the modest improvement in the economic data we have seen over the last two weeks. We are back where we started; the risk of a cold summer, similar to last year, is palpable.” — BofA Merrill Lynch
– ”It is hard to excuse this report on supply-chain disruptions and it suggests that growth momentum evaporated as the second quarter drew to a close.”- RDQ Economics
– ”Unfortunately, leading labor market indicators like temporary help employment, aggregate hours worked and first-time jobless claims remain weak and thus do not suggest an imminent reacceleration in the labor market.” — MKM Partners
Indeed, if the labor force, which shrank again, was as big as it was when President Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be north of 11 percent. As it is, the broader U-6 measure surged to 16.2 percent from 15.8 percent. But with an economy growing at just 2 percent or so, expectations should be low. If the economy picks up in the second half, so should job growth.
But we have a long way to go before getting the unemployment even back to 8 percent or so by Election Day 2012, needing some 255,00 jobs a month. Obama’s political team seems to think the unemployment rate does not matter. We shall see. At his new conference today, Obama offered plenty of excuses, including blaming uncertainty over the debt ceiling:
We’ve always known that we’d have ups and downs on our way back from this recession. And over the past few months, the economy has experienced some tough headwinds — from natural disasters, to spikes in gas prices, to state and local budget cuts that have cost tens of thousands of cops and firefighters and teachers their jobs. The problems in Greece and in Europe, along with uncertainty over whether the debt limit here in the United States will be raised, have also made businesses hesitant to invest more aggressively. The economic challenges that we face weren’t created overnight, and they’re not going to be solved overnight.
Hardly the stuff for a soul-stirring campaign ad. A few other observations:
1) Will Obama now make a renewed push for a payroll tax cut extension to be part of the debt ceiling negotiations?
2) Will Tim Geithner leave sooner rather later to be replaced by someone with a job-creation background like GE’s Immelt or Facebook’s Sandberg?
3) Will Rs dig in even further against raising taxes?
4) Will Obama’s approval numbers fall below the plateau they’ve sort of been stuck on (not counting the OBL bounce.)
5) Will the weak economy nudge another GOPer to get into the 2012?