Zero jobs. That, according to the Department of Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics, is what the U.S. economy added in August. The U3, or official, unemployment rate, which as Meteor Blades would have pointed out "is calculated from a different survey than the one determining the number of jobs gained or lost," held steady at 9.1%. Fourteen million people are unemployed by this measure. The U6, a measure of unemployment counting part-time workers who want full-time work and discouraged workers who have not looked for jobs recently enough to be counted in the U3 but would still like to work, rose slightly from 16.1% to 16.2%.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), whites
(8.0 percent), blacks (16.7 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed
little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent,
not seasonally adjusted.
Long-term unemployment was "about unchanged" at 6 million people who have been without work for six months or more, accounting for 42.9% of jobless workers.
The number of people who are working part-time involuntarily and would prefer full-time work was at 8.8 million, up from 8.4 million.
The labor force participation rate increased very slightly to 64%, and the employment-population ratio increased by a similarly small amount to 58.2%
You might say that zero jobs fell short of expectations: "analysts had forecast that between 60,000 and 100,000 jobs would be created." The Verizon strike does account for 45,000 jobs counted as lost in August, but obviously the report would remain weak even without that factor.
Obviously this disappointing report is the backdrop against which President Obama's jobs speech next week will be seen; of course, given the hole the jobs economy must climb out of, even a better-than-expected jobs report would have left unemployment, and particularly long-term unemployment, at emergency levels. For Republican politicians who place Obama's defeat in 2012 over the well-being of America's economy and workers, this is good news. For Obama, it's yet another wake-up call to treat unemployment as an emergency that can't be fixed with small tweaks and timid policy.