Much lower job growth than expected. Unemployment up to 9.1%

Not great economic news today. Slow job growth. Unemployment is up:

After several months of strong job growth, hiring slowed sharply in May, raising concerns once again about the underlying strength of the economic recovery.

The Labor Department reported on Friday that the United States added 54,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, following an increase of 232,000 jobs in April. May’s job gain was about a third of what economists had been forecasting.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent from 9.0 percent in April.

This probably has Republicans rejoicing. They’ve done everything possible to thwart Obama’s efforts to fix the economy — and, to a large extent, he and his team let them. Now, the debate in DC is all about the debt, not job creation.

We need jobs in this country. Someone needs to address that.

UPDATE: Here’s the White House statement, from Austan Goolsbee:

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 83,000 in May and the unemployment rate ticked up to 9.1 percent. There are always bumps on the road to recovery, but the overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years.

While the private sector has added more than 2.1 million jobs over the past 15 months, the unemployment rate is unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. The initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business incentives for investment – have contributed to solid employment growth overall this year, but this report is a reminder of the challenges that remain. We are focused on promoting exports, reducing regulatory burdens and making the investments in education, research and development, and infrastructure that will grow our economy and create jobs. We will continue to work with Congress to responsibly reduce the deficit and live within our means.

Overall payroll employment rose by 54,000 in May. Solid employment increases occurred in professional and business services (+44,000) and education and health services (+34,000). Sectors with employment declines included local government (-28,000), retail trade (-8,500), and manufacturing (-5,000). Despite the decline this month, manufacturing has added 238,000 jobs since the beginning of 2010, the best period of manufacturing job growth in over a decade.

The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision. Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.

A lot of people will read a lot into this one monthly report, especially all those Americans who are unemployed. And, note the reference to the deficit. It’s become a White House talking point, thanks to the GOP.

One more thing. What Atrios says:

+54K total jobs, including -29K public sector jobs. AUSTERITY NOW AND FOREVER BITCHES. Unemployment increases to 9.1%. Emp-pop unchanged.

So, uh, not good news.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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