Quick Takes | Jobs and Unemployment

Job creation at glacial pace

The June 2010 employment report released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a sobering snapshot of where we are now, two-and-a-half years since the start of the recession in December 2007. Unemployment is at 9.5%, 45.5% of the unemployed have been unemployed for over 6 months, and there are 25.8 million workers who are either unemployed or underemployed.
The unemployment rate declined 0.2 percentage points in June, but that was primarily due to a decline in the labor force of 652,000 workers. If these workers had remained in the labor force and were unemployed, the unemployment rate in June would have been 9.9%.
The number of payroll jobs declined by 125,000 in June, though the shedding of 225,000 temporary Census jobs more than accounted for that loss. Excluding changes in temporary Census employment, (which, in order to get a handle on the fundamentals of the labor market, is the right way to look at the payroll numbers this summer), the number of payroll jobs increased by 100,000 in June. This underlying rate of growth is nowhere near fast enough to put this country’s 15.2 million unemployed workers back to work.
With a 9.5% unemployment rate and the private sector not yet able to provide a robust recovery, Congressional inaction in passing policies that support economic growth, including renewing the extended jobless benefits in the Recovery Act and providing fiscal relief to states, is inexcusable. –Heidi Shierholz.

See related work on Public Investment | Job creation

See more work by Heidi Shierholz