Research

What They Are Saying About August’s “Lousy Jobs Report”

The Washington Post’s Neil Irwin: “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13)

  • “But In Almost All The Particulars, You Can Find Signs That This Job Market Is Weaker Than It Appeared Just A Few Months Ago, And Maybe Getting Worse.” “But in almost all the particulars, you can find signs that this job market is weaker than it appeared just a few months ago, and maybe getting worse.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13) 
  • “The Drop In The Unemployment Rate Was Caused By 312,000 People Dropping Out Of The Labor Force.” “The drop in the unemployment rate was caused by 312,000 people dropping out of the labor force. The number of people actually reporting having a job actually fell by 112,000 in the survey on which the unemployment rate is based.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13)
  • This Report Should Make Economy-Watchers “Reassess Their Confidence That A Solid, Steady Jobs Recovery Is Underway.” “Jobs numbers ebb and jobs numbers flow, and as always, it would be unwise to make too much of one report. But this one has enough signs of weakness embedded in enough places that it has to make economy-watchers — including those at the Federal Reserve who meet in less than two weeks — reassess their confidence that a solid, steady jobs recovery is underway.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13)
  • Job Creation Now Looks Like It’s On A Downward Trend. “Consider this: The nation has averaged 148,000 new jobs a month for the last three months. The number was 160,000 for the last six months, and 184,000 a month over the last year. That looks to me like a downward trend, no two ways about it. It’s certainly not the gradual acceleration that most mainstream economists have forecast as 2013 advances and the impact of tighter fiscal policy fades.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13)
  • “The Year Is Nearly Three-Quarters Over, And The Economy Isn’t Growing Fast Enough To Put A Higher Proportion Of Its Citizens Back To Work.” “Want another sign? The proportion of the U.S. population that had a job in August was 58.6 percent. Six months earlier, the number was a whopping — wait for it — 58.6 percent. The year is nearly three-quarters over, and the economy isn’t growing fast enough to put a higher proportion of its citizens back to work.” (Neil Irwin, “Ignore The Headlines. This Was A Very Bad Jobs Report,” The Washington Post, 9/6/13)

The Wall Street Journal’s Ben Casselman: “There’s No Way To Sugarcoat It: This Was A Lousy Jobs Report.” (Ben Casselman, “Five Takeaways From August Jobs Report,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 9/6/13) 

  • “The Decline In The Unemployment Rate Was For All The Wrong Reasons, Driven By People Leaving The Labor Force, Not By People Finding Jobs.” “Moreover, the decline in the unemployment rate was for all the wrong reasons, driven by people leaving the labor force, not by people finding jobs. In fact, the number of people reporting they had jobs—a measure based on a separate survey from the one used to calculate payroll gains—actually fell by 115,000 in August. The labor force participation rate—the share of the population that’s working or looking for work—stands at its lowest level in 35 years.” (Ben Casselman, “Five Takeaways From August Jobs Report,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 9/6/13) 
  • The Downward Revisions Were “Particularly Worrisome.” “The economy has added 2.2 million jobs over the past year, pretty much the same full-year pace as in July, but only because July’s figures were revised downward. Those revisions are particularly worrisome because the government tends to underestimate job growth when the economy is accelerating and overestimate it when it is slowing—so downward revisions now can augur weaker growth in the future.” (Ben Casselman, “Five Takeaways From August Jobs Report,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 9/6/13)  
  • “More Than Four Years After The Recession Ended, Finding A Job Remains Extraordinarily Difficult.” “More than four years after the recession ended, finding a job remains extraordinarily difficult. The share of job-seekers finding work fell slightly in August, to 19.5%, while the number of long-term unemployed rose by 44,000. The average unemployed worker has been out of work for more than eight and a half months—a figure that rose for the second month in a row. Little wonder, then, that the number of so-called “discouraged” workers—those who have stopped looking for jobs because they don’t believe any are available—is up from a year ago, and the number of people re-joining the labor force to look for jobs fell in August.” (Ben Casselman, “Five Takeaways From August Jobs Report,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 9/6/13)  
  • “Even Those Lucky Enough To Find Jobs Aren’t Necessarily Finding Good Ones.” “Even those lucky enough to find jobs aren’t necessarily finding good ones. More than a third of all job creation came in the generally low-paying restaurant and retail sectors, while construction payrolls were flat and a 19,000-job gain in manufacturing was partly a quirk of the Labor Department’s formula for seasonal adjustment.” (Ben Casselman, “Five Takeaways From August Jobs Report,” The Wall Street Journal’s Real Time Economics, 9/6/13)  

The Washington Post’s Dylan Matthews:  “The Share Of Young People Working — Especially In Their Late Teens, But Up Until Their Mid-20s Too — Is Down Pretty Dramatically.” “The share of young people working — especially in their late teens, but up until their mid-20s too — is down pretty dramatically. There have been sizable (around 5 percent) reductions in the share of people ages 25 to 55 working. And older workers — especially women — are hanging onto their jobs for much longer than they did during boom times.” (Dylan Matthews, “Forget The Unemployment Rate. Here’s The Chart To Focus On On Jobs Day.,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 9/6/13)

The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “Unemployment Among Teenagers, African Americans And Hispanics Remains Insane.” “Unemployment among teenagers, African Americans and Hispanics remains insane. Among teenagers, the unemployment rate is 22.7 percent; for African Americans, it’s 13 percent; for Hispanics, 9.3 percent. And remember, those numbers only count people actively looking for work. Many others would like work but have stopping hunting. In these communities, then, the job market is somewhere between an awful recession and a severe depression.” (Ezra Klein, “The Five Worst Things About This Crummy Jobs Report,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 9/6/13)

  • Klein: “In These Communities, Then, The Job Market Is Somewhere Between An Awful Recession And A Severe Depression.” (Ezra Klein, “The Five Worst Things About This Crummy Jobs Report,” The Washington Post’s WonkBlog, 9/6/13)

The New York Times’s Binyamin Appelbaum: “The United States Is More Than Four Years Into A Recovery So Weak That This ‘Employment Rate’ Has Not Recovered At All.” “The United States is more than four years into a recovery so weak that this ‘employment rate’ has not recovered at all. As I noted last month, 63 out of 100 adults had jobs before the recession. Now 59 do.” (Binyamin Appelbaum, “Population Growth Outpaces Jobs,” The New York Times’s Economix, 9/6/13)