The official unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point in August to 8.1 percent. That’s the good news. The rest isn’t so great.
Only a net of 96,000 jobs were created in August, way below what is needed to bring down the unemployment rate long term. And the numbers for both June and July were revised downwards. (June was down from 64,000 jobs created to 45,000, July from 163,000 to 141,000). The percentage of the population in the labor force continued to decline (to a dismal 58.3 percent), 5 million people have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks, 40 percent of the total unemployed. Involuntary part-time workers remains at 8 million.
All in all, the sluggish recovery continues sluggishly at best. These numbers cannot make the Obama campaign very happy the morning after the candidate’s big night in Charlotte. They powerfully reinforce the idea that Obama just hasn’t gotten the job done in the last three and a half years and that perhaps Clint Eastwood is right: if a public servant isn’t performing you have to let him go.