U.S. Jobs Data Confirm Worst Fears: Employers Not Hiring Much

If you're thinking the labor market feels lousy, just released data from the federal government will bolster your suspicions.

The Labor Department said Friday that data from the nation's employers showed that they added only 69,000 jobs in May, far fewer than the 150,000 that analysts had expected, while a separate survey showed the U.S. unemployment rate ticked up a tenth of percent to 8.2 percent.

Worse, the government revised downward the number of jobs added in both April and March, meaning that the rosy expectations some analysts had for a robust year of employment growth have yet to develop.

The news likely has many job-seekers and labor-market watchers feeling like it's deja vu all over again. That's because the same phenomenon hit the U.S. economy in the months leading up to the last two summers.

That led New York Times Washington Bureau Chief David Leonhardt to opine via Twitter shortly after the report's release: "This is the jobs report that economists -- and the White House -- feared. For 3rd straight year, the spring slowdown has arrived."

The downward tick couldn't come at a worse time for the long-term unemployed -- those who've been out of work for 6 months or more.

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During the height of the recession, jobless workers in hard-hit states could expect to draw benefits for up to 99 weeks. But the federal government earlier this year rolled back that program, meaning the 137,000 people who crossed the six-month threshold in May are unlikely to see a weekly check. Last month's increase brings the total number of long-term unemployed to 5.4 million.

There was little, if any, good news in Friday's employment report. Even a slight 2/10 of a percent gain in the labor participation rate -- the percentage of working-age people in the labor force able and willing to work -- was just enough to merely offset the drop in April's rate to 63.6 percent.

While some industries added jobs -- including manufacturing, transportation and warehousing, which combined added about 48,000 positions -- those gains were partly offset by a cut of some 13,000 government-sector jobs.

The slow growth in jobs is bad news for those just entering the job market -- such as this year's batch of college grads. Analysts say the economy needs to create roughly 125,000 jobs a month just to keep the unemployment rate steady.

Reuters reported that the nation's level of employment is still 5 million jobs below where it was in December 2007, when the economy fell into recession.

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What's more, a recent trend suggests that more workers are losing jobs. On Thursday, the government reported that first-time claims for jobless benefits rose for the fourth straight week. Initial claims for state unemployment benefits rose 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 383,000.

The news was a worrisome sign that -- when combined with a revised report showing slower economic growth during the first three months of the year -- suggested that the recovery in the labor market is slowing.

For job seekers, that likely means longer search times for employment and increased uncertainty about the future.

It's also a troubling sign for President Obama, who's looking to keep his own job. The bad job numbers are likely to lend a boost to Mitt Romney's bid to unseat Obama in November's presidential election.

Shortly after Friday's employment report was released, Romney called the disappointing results "devastating," and said the data suggest that Obama's economic polices have failed.

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To me its pretty clear that the problem isn't a Republican one or a Democratic one. Its not Bush's fault and its not Obama's fault

The problem is the shift in economic power which has been going on since Japanese manufacturing companies began to take big slices of the auto and electronics industries back in the 1970's. Now China and India are major producers of goods as well. The fact is that the U.S. is no longer the dominant player in the world's economy -- at least not like it was. The jobs that have been lost to China and India are not coming back here. We all have to realize that.

The way we're going to get our economy back on track is through innovation and invention. Let's take back the lead from China in alternative energy research and development. Let's find new ways to recycle trash to create useful products. Federal and State governments should be working hard to find ways to help providers of new solutions in these fields. And for God's sake, let's stop helping the giant oil corporations who mainly want to continue to profit from a dwindling resource.

June 03 2012 at 8:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It seems society in America has forgotten a very strong fact! In my 25 plus years in the work force, mostly working on long term contracts in the Manufacturing and Utilities and Government and private sectors. Working as a contract employee has given me a far better view of the economy and the job market, than people who have been with the same Companies their entire life. Things have been so bad for the past 8 plus years, we have forgotten about this phenomenon, it takes place during the summer months. Managers do not hire new people who will be working for them, when they have vacations planned, they hold off until they get back from their vacations, a few weeks after they get back. I am seeing an extraordinary number of jobs available, the major manufacturing companies, the medical facilities, the communication companies, NBC, CBC, Disney and their affiliates, all around the country. They need to look at that Data, the jobs that are advertised, or listed on company web sites, that could be very informative. Just graduating from HS can't do 4 years of College, look for a 1 to 2 year Technical, or Trade School. Move to a City with a very high crime rates and join their Police Academy programs. Get your EMT and Fire Fighting Cert.'s and look for jobs overseas with American Companiess.

June 03 2012 at 4:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
James Bridges

It also confirms that The Government Lies everytime they spout good numbers and says that everything is all well. Politicians do not ever tell the truth about anything,if they did then they woukld be admiting that they are Liars,cheats and Thieves and that they only care about themselves and the other 1%ers that give them bribes to only vote the way they want on bills

June 03 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to James Bridges's comment

Very well put James. Our choices are very limited, as corruption and palm greasing, doing favors and receiving favors, is how the political system seems to function in America and how it has always functioned for the most part. I have never seen in the history of America, the likes of the political corruption and dirty tricks, that we have witnessed for ourselves, leading up to the American Banking Industry and Wall Street's do or die Bailout.

After a 7 year free fall of dirty tricks and corrupt mortgage dealings, which really started taking off, in early 2003, then turning into a crisis of biblical proportions, around May of 2008. Do your own research and judge for yourself, out of the two, which political group can you trust the most? I need to see thing's for myself. I could never believe anything that I am told by a politician, at their own word only. I need to look up the facts, look at the dates when things took place and what took place and then judge for myself, which group "has the entire country's best interest, at the for front" and not just looking out, for a select group of Americans well being only!

June 03 2012 at 6:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Three cheers for ZERObama!!! Hope and change for all those ignorant freeloaders who continue to look for more government handouts. The more food stamp recipients he creates, the more votes he gets!!! GREAT plan!!!

June 03 2012 at 1:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Well America is getting older you might as well obey the laws because you can't outsource everything or you will have no customers in the USA with money to buy!

June 03 2012 at 1:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Iselin007's comment

Insulin!!! THERE you are! Wondered whatever happened after AOL closed the message boards and booted us out.

September 27 2012 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why they just called to say if your over age 50 your too old because they expect you to unload trucks by hand in less than 2 hours! Oh we need to go back ten years for a material handling job even though were discriminating against American citizens and hiring young illegal aliens.

June 03 2012 at 1:51 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

They game the Labor Workforce Development weeding out the old and handicapped embarrassing the state of NJ. Some crap companies will use and abuse anyone just to avoid be fined for breaking the laws on discrimination. What happen to common sense? The EEOC should be armed and have their staff increase 100 fold just to began to take a bite out of the problem today!

June 03 2012 at 1:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Unless you worked blue collar jobs from the1970's thru the 2000's you can't compare the dollar and cents of doing the same jobs now. Wages haven't changed upward in over a decade in fact they have dropped so that smells like a Depression not Recession.

Your tech jobs are in Asia etc along with everything else that hasn't been hit by NAFTA!

June 03 2012 at 1:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good news coming - When long term unemployment benefits run out all the people who lose those benefits will no longer be counted as unemployed. The unemployment rate will drop, problem solved! That's why BO isn't yelling for congress to extend unemployment benefits.

June 03 2012 at 1:36 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

But when you ask about the good jobs they tell you have to have recent experience something the experts on discrimination say is illegal most of the time! Your better off throwing your money at the lottery because if you figure the numbers close enough often enough you won't need their tainted system of discrimination on the job hunt.

June 03 2012 at 1:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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