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Disappointing Numbers Again as U.S. Economy Adds Only 115,000 Jobs; Unemployment at 8.1%

| May 4, 2012

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The national economy added only 115,000 jobs in April, adding to March’s disappointing numbers and renewing fears that the economy may be stalling, as it did last spring. The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, a slight improvement on March’s 8.2 percent figure.

The private sector added 130,000 jobs, but government lost another 15,000, dragging down momentum.

Most indicators remained flat in comparison with the previous month: Some 12.5 million Americans are unemployed. The long-term unemployed, who have been without work for 27 weeks or more, made up 41.3 percent of the jobless rolls (5.1 million people), and in a bad sign, the civilian labor force participation rate again declined, to 63.6 percent, reversing small improvements over the previous two months. The participation rate is an indication of workers’ confidence: when they see matters improving, they jump back in.

It’s not that the economy isn’t performing. It is, in fact, producing more goods and services than it was before the recession, but it’s doing so with 5 million fewer workers: the economy has become more efficient, or employers have found ways to squeeze more out of their employees without paying them more (once inflation is taken into account), which raises questions about the notion of full employment: if companies can keep growing with lesser work forces, the gap between economic growth and employment rolls will grow as well, though earlier this week the Commerce Department posted anemic growth figures, too. None of which is comforting to the unemployed.

The so-called U-6 indicator, a more accurate sum-up of the employment picture that includes the unemployed, those who’ve quit looking for work altogether (and are no longer counted as officially unemployed), and those who work part-time because they can;t find full-time work, or because their hours have been cut back against their will, was unchanged, at 14.5 percent of the labor force.

A minor bright spot: February and March job creation numbers were revised upward, adding 53,000 jobs to a total of 413,000 for the two months.

A few highlights:

Employment in professional and business services increased by 62,000 in April. Temp services added 21,000 jobs, retail added 29,000 and health care 19,000. Manufacturing, a consistently strong spot since the end of the recession, added 16,000 for a total of 489,000 new jobs since January 2010, largely in durable goods manufacturing.

On the losing side, transportation and warehousing lost 17,000 jobs. Employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, wholesale trade, information, financial activities, and government changed little.

The average workweek for all employees was unchanged at 34.5 hours in April, also a worrisome sign that suggests the demand for work may be slowing. The manufacturing workweek edged up by 0.1 hour to 40.8 hours, and factory overtime rose by 0.1 hour to 3.4 hours. Average hourly earnings for all employees rose by 1 cent to $23.38. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings have increased by 1.8 percent, not the sort of improvement that would register in an individual’s paycheck.

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13 Responses for “Disappointing Numbers Again as U.S. Economy Adds Only 115,000 Jobs; Unemployment at 8.1%”

  1. B.Claire says:

    Previous admin handed President Obama a country in FLAMES…like much of the globe…
    Now going in right direction, unemployment down to 8.1%. [NO thanks to ‘say NO to everything’ now T-Party run Congress]

    Next time right wingers…do a better vetting job of your Presidential candidates. Based on Republican campaign so far in ’12…heading in EXACT same direction that got us Pres. Bush with a lit match.

  2. Gia says:

    I said it before don’t expect any improvement anytime soon.

  3. Obama 2012 says:

    Bush’s last year in office we lost millions of jobs and in the past two years we are starting to add jobs.

    So the economy is gaining jobs (not has fast as we all hope) and the gas prices are dropping and still your not happy?

    The 1% still have their tax breaks and they are not creating jobs or lending any money to the middle class. Time to expire the bush tax cuts to get more money in the pockets of the people that really create jobs.

  4. B.Claire says:


    My, my what have here:

    I think it’s a Democratic President Bill Clinton bookended by 2 ‘less effective’ Bush Presidents. Clinton leaving ‘W’ with a 236 BILLION $ SURPLUS.

    Hummm, what was the amount of surplus ‘W’ left President Obama. What’s that? Nothing! Just debt & distruction?!

    ‘W’ is the one who blew a humongous hole the the planet, which President Obama is repairing day-by-day. And not insignificantly…we are no longer the laughting stock [and worse] around the globe.

  5. B.Claire says:

    P.S. W E L C O M E “Obama 2012” …..reinforcements, yeah!!!!!!

  6. Obama 2012 says:

    The 2012 is about moving FORWARD.. Not about falling back.

  7. Outsider says:

    I still don’t understand why anyone expects or believes Obama has the know-how to fix the economy. He never ran so much as a cash register in a gift shop before he became president, so why would anyone, himself included, delude himself into believing Obama was the right guy to fix the world’s largest, most complex economy during the “worst econimic crisis since the Great Depression?” And as far as this crap that he “inherited” a mess: he didn’t “inherit” anything; he ASKED for it, and assured everyone he could wave his magic wand and all would be well. Hello, McFly, all is not well. Those who have foregone the rose colored glasses recognize that this presidency is a mega disaster.

  8. Christie 2012 says:

    Here is a few things moving FORWARD has done for this country:

    1. Every fifth man in America is out of a job.
    Fewer Jobs. There are 5.5 million fewer jobs right now than there were when Obama was inaugurated
    2. College Graduates In 2007 90% of all college graduates found a job. Today that figure is 56%.
    3. Welfare: Over $1 trillion spent on government entitlement programs in the last two years.
    Welfare percentage Over ½ of households in America have someone receiving entitlement checks.
    Food Stamps: Under Obama food stamp use has increased by 41%.
    Every 7th person you pass on the sidewalk is on food stamps.
    EBT Cards The increase in the use of EBT cards is 135%
    4. The National Debt has increased more under Obama in 3+ years then it did all of Bush’s eight years.
    5. The first president to have our country credit rating lowered

    • Obama 2012 says:

      The Country is moving FORWARD. It’s not stuck in neutral anymore. We are adding jobs. Not losing them. Is it great. NO, it is good yes.

      When the economy lost MILLIONS of JOBS under BUSH since 2000 how do you expect a country to recover in 1460 days? The entire system was changed by Bush to help Wall Street, the 1% and the tax code ALLOWED jobs to be shipped over seas. Having to update thousands of laws, codes and regulations that created the crash takes time and it has started to build back this economy.

      The funny thing is I never hear from any member of the GOP how Bush lied about the Iraq war and BILLIONS of dollars went over to fight a war for the United States Oil interests. Then I never hear from the GOP how thousands of MEN and WOMEN died looking for WMD. I also never hear how this country was attacked by terrorist under Bush’s watch and how the Bush tax cuts haven’t created any jobs in this country. Why doesn’t anyone remember those price tags? Since Regan what has the GOP done for this country? Honestly give me something?

      Here is the kicker are you ready for it. Welfare and Food Stamps are used by republicans too and Obama put the war on the books so you can see it on the National Debt.

      “Obviously, the rise in food stamps is a direct consequence of the serious recession that began in December 2007 — more than a year before Obama took office. It’s hard to determine how much blame Obama deserves compared to his predecessor, President George W. Bush, but the experts we spoke to, conservative and liberal, agree that Obama inherited a serious economic situation.”

      Also the credit rating was lowered because congress wouldn’t allow for the debt ceiling increase because we couldn’t do something that has always been done over and over. (Standard & Poor’s had “lost confidence” in the ability of the United States government to make decisions.)

      Also I rather see my tax dollars keep my follow middle class worker above water for a few years then let them lose their job,their home and living on the street with no food because someone lied about the company they ran and it went out of business overnight.

      If your so concerned about the Debt, do me a favor and write a check for 480.00 (40 bucks a month) and send it to Washington. That was the TAX CUT Obama put into law this year with the The Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 and vote for Mitt Romney and his 1990’s business ideas.

      Also Every fifth man in America is out of a job. (I guess women don’t work huh?)

      FACTS.. Kryptonite for the GOP!

      FORWARD 2012
      We take care of our Own!

  9. B. Claire says:

    President Clinton handing off the country to President George ‘W’:

    What President Bush handed off President Obama

    Now, Mr/Ms. Republican, exactly how long would it take YOU to

    1. Put the fires out

    2. Rebuild the country back to AT LEAST what was left to you?

    3. All the while one half of the US Congress sitting on their hands and

    4. FOX spouting of the most ludicrous lies 24/7, 365 days for the last 4 years to the very people being screwed in this chart ……FOX taking advantage of the sad fact that if you say it with a flag waving in the background…the Republicans will buy it hook, line & sinker.

  10. Outsider says:

    I don’t have to “buy” anything; I can see with my own eyes the economy sucks. There is a crisis in confidence: we have billions of dollars sitting in bank accounts because, we once again face the same questions as to what the future holds. What will the tax rates be a year from now? How much will Obamacare really cost employers? I believe that when Obama is removed from office, the difficulty will be in keeping the economy from growing too quickly. Obama has no negotiating skills. Even Newsweek admitted this in an article where Obama caved early in negotiations with Israel over settlements in the occupied territories, thus, blowing what little chance for peace there was. His signature “accomplishment,” Obamacare is likely to be declared unconstitutional in the summer. So, what’s left? A crappy economy, few successes to point to, and more and more people on the government dole. The shuttle program was ended with no planned replacement, other than throwing it off to the private sector. We, the first country to put a man on the moon are relegated to hitchiking to space with the Russians, and for the first time in decades, our kids can no longer have the dream of becoming an astonaut for our country. We have a president who claims to feel our pain, but how can that be when he flies a taxpayer funded 747 to numerous fun places around the globe with his family, and to his numerous defacto campaign stops and fundraisers? There is no leadership in this country, only a divisive leader who continually puts one group of Americans against the other because his only concern is retain the power that he abuses on a regular basis. Can we at least have Jimmy Carter back??

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