The top line is shocking. The bottom line hasn't changed. The private sector is still weak. Government is still shrinking. The American worker is still falling behind.REUTERS/LUCY NICHOLSON
What do you call an economy growing less than one percent in 2011 after a month without job creation? How about the zerocovery.
Net job creation in August was exactly zero for the first time since February of 1945, as the jobless rate remained unchanged at 9.1 percent. The news gets worse. Average weekly hours, average weekly earnings, and aggregate weekly payrolls turned negative. Forget escape velocity, that's not even stall speed. That's double-dip velocity.
In what was nearly a coup for Sunday morning talk shows (and nobody else), 25,000 more unemployed workers would have brought the unemployment rate to 9.11% the week of 9/11.
The news in the Establishment Data is distressing, but the major story lines are the same as they've been for a year. The private sector, which added 17,000 jobs, is still growing, but too slowly. The public sector, which has shrunk by more than the private sector since Obama took office, lost 17,000 jobs. Since employment peaked in September 2008, local government has shed 550,000 positions. Education and health services continue to add about 30k jobs a month. That's good news for the unemployed, but as Sarah Kliff points out, it really reflects a health care industry that is incapable of controlling costs meeting an aging population head on.