May jobs report shows economy still struggling – Part 439

Today’s jobs numbers bring more bad news to an economy still sluggish exactly four years after the Great Recession ended. The highlights:

  • 175,000 jobs were added, which is a bit above the replacement rate.
  • March’s jobs numbers were revised to add 4,000 jobs – but April’s were revised to go down by 16,000 – meaning those months had a total drop of 12,000 jobs.
  • Unemployment is still high – officially 7.6%.
  • The labor force rose, but the participation rate is still abysmally low.

CNBC notes the report is better than expected, and throws in the obligatory “sequestration is causing harm” commentary:

Government payrolls shed 12,000 as budget sequestration cuts began to kick in.

“The sequester, along with the negative impact from slowing global trade, are being offset by the continued contribution from the revival in the housing market and stronger consumption,” said Kathy Bostjancic, director of macroeconomic analysis at The Conference Board.


Financial markets reacted positively to the report, with stock futures jumping higher and indicating a strong open on Wall Street.


Other jobs numbers had pointed to a slowdown.

The Institute for Supply Manufacturing surveys of both the manufacturing and nonmanufacturing sectors pointed to flat growth, while the ADP/Moody’s Analytics survey of private payrolls earlier this week came in considerably lower than expected.

Ed Morrissey has this reality check, in case you’re getting excited over a better-than-expected report:

At this rate, it would take 320 months to make up for the 8 million jobs lost during the Great Recession and the Incredibly Lousy Recovery over the last six years.

Five-and-a-half years after the recession began, and nearly five years after the financial crash devastated the savings and lives of millions of Americans, the country should be climbing strongly back towards a recovery. Yet the economy continues to sputter, and Washington continues to ignore real solutions – lowering spending, tax reform, reducing regulations, and moving towards a constitutionally-limited government so free markets (and thus the American people) can thrive.