According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy added zero net jobs in August, with the unemployment rate remaining unchanged at 9.1 percent. The private sector added 17,000 jobs, while the public sector continued to shrink, losing 17,000 jobs.
The report includes amongst its losses 45,000 jobs temporarily lost as a result of the Verizon strike. So 45,000 other jobs were created that aren’t reflected in the overall number. But that’s hardly a glimmer of good news.
As The Economist’s Ryan Avent noted, “since the recession officially ended, the American economy has lost nearly 600,000 government jobs. Any way you slice it, that’s a significant drag on recovery.” Matt Yglesias added:
The striking zero result should galvanize minds, but it’s worth noting that this has been the trend all year. The public sector has been steadily shrinking. According to the conservative theory of the economy, when the public sector shrinks that should super-charge the private sector. What’s happened in the real world has been that public sector shrinkage has simply been paired with anemic private sector growth. This is what I’ve called “The Conservative Recovery.” Conservatives complain about the results because the President is a Democrat named Barack Obama. But the policy result is what conservatives say they want. Steady cuts to the government sector, offset somewhat by private sector growth.
Political Correction charted the changes in private sector and public sector employment since the 2009 stimulus was passed:
The Roosevelt Institute’s Mike Konczal added that “the number of hours worked in US economy declined. Same number of hours worked (not controlling for population growth) as March 1999.” 42.9 percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or more, while the wider U-6 measure of underemployment stands at 16.2 percent. Next week, President Obama is unveiling a new jobs plan before a joint session of Congress.