The monthly jobs report, released on the first Friday of every month, came out at 8:30 this morning, and it isn’t pretty. While the unemployment rate ticked down to 8.1 percent, that was largely because people dropped out of the workforce rather than people finding jobs. The broader measure of unemployment, which counts people in part-time jobs who would rather work full-time, remains at a dismal 14.5 percent. The percentage of the population in the workforce dropped to a 30-year low at 64.3 percent, as 522,000 people left the labor force.
Only 115,000 new jobs were created last month (130,000 in the private sector, while government lost 15,000 jobs) and, thanks to population growth, the country needs 125,000 new jobs a month just to keep the unemployment rate steady.
This is the third year in a row that job growth, after a promising start in the early months of the year, stalled in the spring. But this isn’t any year. It’s a year divisible by 4. In six months, President Obama has to face an electorate that has lived through the most sluggish recovery since the Great Depression lingered on and on in the 1930’s. And Obama is no FDR (nor does Mitt Romney have anything in common with Alf Landon except party registration).