The national unemployment rate held steady at 9.1 percent in August, as no new jobs were created, according to a federal Bureau of Labor Statistics report issued today. The 17,000 new private-sector jobs that surfaced in August were offset by a similar decline in government jobs, according to Labor.
“We expected a weak report and got an even weaker one,” said Patrick O’Keefe, director of economic research at the Roseland CPA firm J.H. Cohn LLP. “The private-sector job growth was well below even meager expectations. It was nugatory, or paltry.”
He’s not very hopeful about a quick turnaround, noting that “a number of reports confirm that the trend rate of growth is substantially lower” in this recovery, compared to previous ones.
Technically, the recession began in December 2007 and ended in June 2009, according to the Business Cycle Dating Committee of the National Bureau of Economic Research. But O’Keefe has his doubts.
“It’s a recovery if you’re satisfied that, more than two years into it, employment is back to where it was 11-and-a-half years ago, in January 2000,” he said. “We’re seeing negative implications for job growth, income growth and for fiscal balance.”
Another economist called disappointing data a trend.
“The disappointing jobs report for August joins other recent disappointing economic indicators that all point to an economy that has nearly stalled out,” said Rutgers University professor Joseph J. Seneca, of the Bloustein School, in an e-mail. “Even with the Verizon strike distorting the data, the growth in private-sector jobs has clearly decelerated, as evidenced by the downward revisions of initial job growth estimates in June and July.”