The latest economic data is out, and it’s not good.
Jim Pethokoukis at the American Enterprise Institute has the scoop:
Employers created just 69,000 jobs last month, the Labor Department said on Friday. That’s the fewest since May of last year. Economists had been expecting nonfarm payrolls to increase by 150,000. Moreover, companies added 49,000 fewer jobs than previously estimated in March and April. Talk about a slowdown. The average monthly gain was 226,000 in first quarter vs. an average of just 73,000 in April and May.
Oh, and the U-3 unemployment rate rose to 8.2% from 8.1%. The broader U-6 gauge, which also measures underemployment, rose to 14.8% from 14.5%. The labor force participation rate did, finally, tick up to a still-low 63.8%, lending credence to the idea that the shrinking workforce reflects discouraged workers and not just demographics.
But this isn’t just a case of conservatives gloating at the failures of the Obama administration. Noted liberal blogger Matthew Yglesias has this to say at Slate:
[W]e gained 69,000 new jobs in May (estimated) but lost 49,000 in revisions. That leaves us with a net increase in employment of just 20,000. Disaster disaster disaster.
[A] lot of this is already getting fed through an election year politics lens, but it’s important to remember that this is first and foremost a human trajedy [sic] for unemployed and underemployed people, and for employed workers who’ve been stripped of bargaining power due to persistent labor market weakness. If growth stays dismal and Barack Obama loses the election, he and Michelle and Jack Lew and Tim Geithner and all the rest will go on to have happy, healthy, prosperous lives. Other people’s careers are much more in the balance.
Interestingly, it appears that blacks and Hispanics have been hit hardest by the Obama economy. According to National Journal:
In May, 11 percent of Hispanics who were looking for work couldn’t find it, up from 9.8 a month ago. Among blacks, the rate rose less than a percentage point, from 13 percent in April to 13.6 percent in May.
The unemployment rates among whites and Asians remained flat at 7.4 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.
I agree with Yglesias. This is a human tragedy. Where we disagree is how to solve this problem. Come November, the voters will have an opportunity to register their displeasure with the failed economic policies of this Keynes-addicted president.