As Americans gear up for a three day weekend with Labor Day approaching on Monday, the millions that have been jobless for months will see no reason to celebrate as the latest figures show zero growth in employment for August.
Unemployment statistics for America remained at 9.1 percent for the month of August, and while that tally was all to be expected, a surprise came as, despite predictions that new jobs were created last month, economists’ expectations of 75,000 new jobs were not met.
The latest reports from the Labor Department reveal that only 17,000 jobs were added to the private sector in August while the government shed more and more positions. Payroll figures in the manufacturing sector were down, as were the hours in an average work week and the average hourly wage earning among American workers.
The White House announced on Thursday that they predict an unemployment rate of 8.3 percent in 2012, but the country will need to add 200,000 jobs per month in the meantime in order to bring the unemployment statistic down a full percentage point in 12 months’ time. With zero job growth for the month of August and the Labor Department now revising statistics for June and July to show fewer jobs created than calculated earlier, the pickup necessary to push the unemployment rate down seems more unlikely than ever.
Taking into account the three summer months, an average of 35,000 jobs were created in June, July and August, reports the Los Angeles Times.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to give a speech next week to address the dire jobs situation as the country grows wearier of the administration’s failure to keep the country from an economic slump.
Economist Patrick O’Keefe from the accounting firm JH Cohn says a slump isn’t likely, but instead expects the economy “to slouch and stagger,” reports Reuters. Other economists from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond released a paper recently in which they write, “After a long period of unemployment, affected workers may become effectively unemployable,” suggesting that the actual rate of unemployment is only accelerating. Nearly 43 percent of unemployment Americans have been without jobs for more than six months.
A strike of around 45,000 employees at Verizon Communications contributed in part to the sad statistics for August, which overall saw a drop of around 48,000 workers in the information industry. The 17,000 jobs added in the private sector shows the smallest increase in over a year and a half and fell short of the prediction of 95,000 that Bloomberg expected. Little to no job growth across the board was displayed for August, with healthcare services being the only notable exception.
There was another figure that managed to go up for the month of August, however: the measure of Americas who have stopped looking for work and those that have settled for part-time employment. That tally increased by a tenth of a point to 16.2 percent.