Jobs Report: When Will Things Stop Looking So Grim?

64,000 private-sector jobs gained, 159,000 public-sector jobs lost

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The latest jobs report is out. Good news: the private sector added 64,000 jobs in August. Bad news: the public sector cut 159,000 jobs. The conclusion: as the government cut back on stimulus and spending, the result was a net loss of 95,000 non-farm jobs. As always, there is plenty to worry over and analyze in the report--and experts are already at it. But here's the quick list of reactions:

  • The Report: 'It Sucks,' summarizes Kevin Drum succinctly at Mother Jones. "Private sector job growth was anemic, just as it has been since falling off a cliff in May... At the rate things are going right now, unemployment is going to say near double digits for a very, very long time."
  • 'Obama Still Has an Unemployment Problem'  It's not necessarily his fault, writes The Atlantic's Megan McArdle, but "I do wonder what happens to Obama's presidency if things don't turn around for another year.  If employment finally starts to perk up in late 2011, will voters forgive him?  They forgave Reagan, of course." She refers back to her own prediction that being president this cycle was not a good idea: "whoever got elected was all too likely to be unfairly blamed for these problems."
  • Signs That This Is About 'Lack of Demand,' Not 'Skills Mismatch'  The key may be the observed "spike in involuntary part-time workers," says The Wall Street Journal's Sara Murray. That probably means the workers have the skills, but people just aren't hiring--i.e., it's not a structural problem.
  • Running Out of Time for Job Growth  "Already we're at the absolute limit," argues Reuters finance blogger Felix Salmon: "any longer, and most of the unemployed will be long-term unemployed and, to a first approximation, unemployable. This country simply can't afford an unemployable underclass of the long-term unemployed--not morally, not economically, and not fiscally, either." And this report? "There's absolutely nothing to get excited about," he declares.
  • What the 64,000 Added Jobs 'Mean'  Unfortunately, notes The Washington Post's Ezra Klein, 64,000 private sector jobs is "about 35,000 less than the 100,000 or so jobs needed to keep up with population growth. It's about 180,000 less than the number of jobs needed to get back to 5 percent unemployment in the next 10 years."
  • 'Bleak News for Democrats,' blares Publius's headline from Brietbart's Big Government. "Congress, meanwhile, has left town until after the midterms, failing to decide what to do about wide-ranging Bush-era tax cuts that are due to expire on Jan. 1."
  • Which Republicans Will Use  Time rounds up key quotes in reactions from Republican politicians, all of whom suggest Democrats have mismanaged the situation.
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