Nonfarm payroll employment changed little (-54,000) in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Government employment fell, as 114,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly (+67,000).
It’s definitely good news that private sector job gains have continued through the Summer of Census Demobilization. But the rate of private sector jobs gains is not sufficient to put an end to mass unemployment any time in the foreseeable future. If congress had acted to stave off some of these state and local job cuts and furloughs, people would have more income in their pockets and private firms would have more customers and we’d be seeing better numbers on both the public and private sides of the ledger.