Saturday, August 6, 2011

No Change In Jobs Report Equals Bad News

The latest jobs report changes nothing. We had no engine of economic growth when we all woke up on Friday morning, and we still don't have one. We have no operative plan to fix what ails us. We are in a bad place and sliding toward a worse one.

The Republicans are banking on continuing economic disaster as their pathway back to the White House, sabotaging any and all efforts to address the decline. The Obama administration is so beaten up and despondent that it has apparently convinced itself that the Oval Office confers no authority to address the unraveling of American middle class opportunity. A modest nudge downward in the unemployment rate, from 9.2 percent to 9.1 percent, changes this narrative not one bit.

Indeed, it stands as testament to the dismay that has characterized thinking about the economy in recent weeks that a jobs report that presents little change in any key area managed to register as good news on Friday, sending investors into paroxysms of buying.

Before the Labor Department released its snapshot of the job market, the rest of the week had been unsettling to say the least. A slew of lousy data -- a pullback on the factory floor, still-elevated new claims for unemployment benefits, and a fresh decline in consumer spending -- had combined to bring a chorus of worrying about a double-dip recession. (In many cases, the worriers are the same people who were talking about vigorous recovery back in early 2010.) (more)