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No Bounce: Economy Adds Only 96,000 Jobs in August as Unemployment Drops to 8.1%

| September 7, 2012

us unemployment august 2012

Click on the graph for larger view. (© FlaglerLive)

Last Updated: 9:35 a.m.

The national economy added a meager 96,000 jobs in August, and the previous two months’ total was revised downward by 41,000 jobs. Nevertheless the unemployment rate edged down to 8.1 percent, from 8.3 percent, as the employment picture continues to zigzag between hope and anemia.

Private-sector payrolls added 103,000 jobs. The overall number was lower because government again dragged down the figure with a loss of 7,000 jobs. In all, 12.5 million Americans remain out of work–and many million more when the under-employed and discouraged workers are included.

The numbers contrast sharply with Thursday’s report by ADP Payroll that the economy had added 200,000 jobs, and that July numbers had been revised upward, to 173,000. Wall Street economists had projected a gain of 125,000 jobs.

The labor force participation rate 2002-2012

The labor force participation rate since 2002. Click on the image for larger view. (BLS)

The decline in the unemployment rate is not necessarily good news: it suggests that, as in Florida–where the unemployment rate has been on a downward trend–more people are leaving the work force in discouragement than joining it. The civilian labor force declined by 368,000, to 154.6 million. The participation rate has fluctuated between 154 million and 155 million since the beginning of 2008. The labor force participation rate fell to 63.5 percent, from 63.7 percent in July. It was at 66 percent four years ago.

That’s not the sort of news the Obama campaign administration was looking, coming out of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. The numbers will give the Romney campaign more fodder to criticize Obama’s management of the economy, and deflate the bounce Democrats were hoping to rise out of Charlotte.

More bad news: Democrats touted solid gains in manufacturing over the past two years, led by gains in the auto sector. In August, manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, led by losses in the auto sector.

Still, there was one brighter spot: the more accurate overall unemployment rate, which includes the long-term unemployed, discouraged workers, and those employed part-time against their will, because they could not find full time work or had their hours cut back–that rate fell back by three decimal points, to 14.7 percent, down from 15 percent in July. The rate was 16.1 percent a year ago.

Also, consumer spending in August rose to a four-year high, with Americans reporting daily spending of $77, up from $73 in July. It’s still well below the $97 reported in early 2008, but a considerable improvement over the $65 to $68 rate reported for most of the past four years. And on Thursday, the Dow Jones average added 245 points, one of its biggest gains of the year, closing higher than at any point since 2008. That was driven largely by the expectation of a brighter jobs report, yet the Dow opened a few points higher Friday morning, an hour after digesting the jobs report.

Here are some highlights from the August unemployment report:

Employment in restaurants and bars increased by 28,000 in August. Employment also rose in professional and technical services (+27,000), computer systems design and related services (+11,000) and management and technical consulting services (+9,000), health care(+17,000), utilities (+9,000), and finance and insurance (+11,000). Temporary help services saw little change.

Aside from manufacturing’s losses, employment in other major industries, including mining and logging, construction, retail trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and government, showed little change over the month.

The average workweek for all employees on private payrolls was unchanged at 34.4 hours. in August. The manufacturing workweek declined by 0.2 hour to 40.5 hours. Factory overtime was unchanged at 3.2 hours. But average hourly earnings for all employees on private payrolls fell by 1 cent to $23.52. Over the past 12 months, average hourly earnings rose by 1.7 percent. The gain is more than erased by rising inflation, particularly higher energy and health costs.

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18 Responses for “No Bounce: Economy Adds Only 96,000 Jobs in August as Unemployment Drops to 8.1%”

  1. 96,000 is better than losing 200,000 a month !

  2. Beatrice Stone says:

    Actually, if you read the whole article, 368,000 gave up looking for a job. Not so good.

  3. question says:

    you mean…better than losing the

    OVER 600,000 to 700,000 jobs A MONTH shown on above graph– under Pres Bush !

  4. Lin says:

    “more people are leaving the workforce in discouragement than joining it”

    “12.5 million out of work, even more when the under-employed and discouraged are included”

    “civilian labor force declined by 368,000”

    dismal, again

  5. Dadgum says:

    ….but, unemployment went down 2/10ths of a point from 8.3 to 8.1 yet Gov Scott and Republicans will take credit for lowering unemployment when in fact unemployed exhausted their benefits and are no longer counted as unemployed. You can play with numbers all day yet political ads say 23 million are still unemployed?

  6. The Truth says:

    I think the problem that most American’s face, regardless of what party you support, is this:

    A. While we wish it would be more, we are adding jobs and have been adding jobs for over 3 years now. While the numbers aren’t high, they are still on the right side of the graph.

    B. No one really knows what Mitt Romney’s plan is to create jobs in this country. What we do know about his tax plan is going to be enough (at least for me) to trust in him that he can get us going in the right direction. Particularly since many of his policies are similar to George W. Bush policies, which contributed greatly to this mess in the first place.

  7. Gia says:

    A drop to 8.1% is not the right number. A big number of unemployed have exhausted their benefits & they are not counted anymore. The country still has about a good 20 millions unemployed, & no prospect until the end of next year if we have a new leader. If we don’t.!……god help you folks.

    • The Truth says:

      A new leader? You mean one with the same policies of the previous leader who got us in this mess? There is absolutely nothing that Mitt Romney says to me about his plan that makes me believe that he has the answer to get this country in a better position. President Obama, while not perfect, is a much better man for the job. Mitt Romney will bring us right back to the same “trickle down” economy that President George W. Bush felt was right. In the end, that trickle down never happened because the rich kept getting richer and the poor kept getting poorer.

      Tax cuts for those making $3 million or more? Give me a break!

      Repealing the Affordable Healthcare Act? If this happens, millions of people will be without insurance again including my father who only has insurance because of the AHA. Due to “pre-existing conditions” , no insurance company would even except him. What are his pre-existing conditions? He’s had high blood sugar at one point in his life which is now under control. That is it!

      The fact that some believe Mitt Romney is the man for the job even though his record in the state of Massachusetts proves otherwise is despicable. He did not create jobs in the state of MA, he is clearly out to protect is only investments and those millionaire friends of his. How anyone can support someone who keeps their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying additional taxes is beyond me.

      While I don’t have faith in my politicians, I do have much more faith in President Obama keeping this country on the right track then another Republican who has so many bad policies, and I didn’t even discuss his foreign policy team (who includes 17 of President George W. Bush team members).

      Not to mention, women’s rights will be an afterthought if this man is elected. The choice is yours America!

  8. some guy says:

    It would be nice if this drop in rate was due to more people finding work over more people dropping out of the work force. :(

  9. Ralph says:

    People down my street sold their house to someone that put down 80%,,,,get it…..80% down and the bank still won’t make the deal. Funny how the Demos get banks deregulated and force the banks to lend to anyone causing a huge bubble, then these same dopes pass restrictions so the banks won’t lend to anyone and scream capitalism doesn’t work when the economy collapses……you all getting any of this??????? there is no way this economy is ever going to pick up and create jobs with this garbage going on…….. it’s a sham by a President that is ” the biggest hoax ever” Fire this turkey.

  10. Karma says:

    You have not seen anything yet. Wait until January 2013 when we reach the “Fiscal Cliff”. The administration is asking many of the employers to hold off on giving the required 60 day layoff notice until after the election. Many of the jobs lost will be good paying defense contract jobs.

  11. Ben Blakely says:

    Numbers lie especially when you have the liar in chief obama controlling them.

    The rate of 8.1 is an untrue representation of the unemployment rate. It is artificially low due to almost half a million people dropping out of the job market…just giving up for lack of jobs.

    The actual unemployment rate is over 11%. Obama in 4 years has LOST more jobs than have been created. And he wants another 4 years to deliver us empty promises, marxist economic failure, and taking our country so far left it will be unrecogizeable as a socialist democracy RULED by edict and not by constitution.

    Today the liar and theif in Chief odumbo signed another executive order declaring he has control over the internet. The inept grease ball obama did not like the fact that Congress did not want to control the internet but the power crazed maniac odumbo wanted it like all little tyrants who crave power. He just whipped out his little marxist power pen and signed an executive order taking control himself.

    So we have a country that is now ruled by EDICT. We are all subjects of this born lying corrupt fool obama and we have ceased being America free citizens.
    Hope you remember this when you vote in November. Like being a lowly subject of the black king?

  12. question says:

    Whole lot of same mentality that

    got us the largest Medicare Fraud King as Governor.

    Don’t you ever learn?

    Too anxious to make FL #1 in the ‘most challenged state’ category.

  13. Karma says:

    Not all manufacturing jobs have been hurt the last 4 years. Looks like Smith and Wesson had their best year ever.
    Yet, it is no big surprise many democrats want to see those private sector jobs gone. Jesse Jackson wants to ban all guns except bolt-action rifles, shotguns and revolvers.

  14. Ben Blakely says:

    And the bungled, feckless, pusillanimous failed term of Baroke obama continues.

    Four years of abysmal failure and a lack of leadership. We all have suffered greatly from obama.

    You may have voted for obama in 2008 to prove you are not a racist.

    In November 2012, vote for Romney to prove you’re not an idiot.

  15. Ben Blakely says:

    obama is not just dishonest. He and the democrat party just LIE, DECEIVE and CONCEAL the truth.

    obama and the democrats have decided it is to their advantage to just lie and deceive the public and not worry about being found out. The lies work because the people believe them. obama conducts the presidency like it is an organized crime operation. The laws and the constitution are meaningless.

    Look at the latest proof of the obama filth, lies and deliberate dishonesty manipulating the public. obama cannot control the international facts as he does in America so this mamouth deception of obama is going to be seen and heard. obama and the corrupt leftist media won’t be able to conceal this as they always do to cover for the liar in chief obama.

    obama DISRESPECTS and MOCKS all Americans. He has NO REGARD for Americans so he continually LIES and INSULTS us with his dishonesty and falsehoods. It is the mob way and obama is truly a dirt bag and sleaze ball.

    Barry obama is uniquely UNQUALIFIED to be president. His 4 years of abysmal failure and destruction of the U.S. economic system, highest levels of poverty, highest unemployment, highest wasteful spending, highest outrageous Federal deficit, and increasing taxes prove he is a DANGER to your future and the country’s health.

    You have only ONE CHANCE to remove the socialist marxist obama from office and cleanse the government of all the Democrat Communists that are destroying America.

  16. Dorothea says:

    Dear Ben Blakely

    I’m almost enjoying your increasingly hysterical rants that get more intense as President Barack Obama gets more support.

    Member of the Democratic Party who is not a Commie, socialist, Marxist

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