Bush Economy Sheds 51K More Jobs; Unemployment Highest in Four Years

And all the bad boys are standing in the shadows
All the good girls are home with broken hearts

And I'm free ... free fallin'
Yeah I'm free... free fallin'
-Tom Petty

The U.S. economy has lost jobs for the seventh consecutive month, but I don't want to hear any whining, OK?

Dean Baker:
The unemployment rate rose 0.2 percentage points to 5.7 percent in July, its highest level since March of 2004. The establishment survey showed a loss of 51,000 jobs overall, with the private sector shedding 76,000 jobs. The private sector has now lost 665,000 jobs since it began shedding jobs last December. The economy as a whole has lost 463,000 jobs since December.
Other measures of labor market health also indicate weakness. The number of workers working part-time involuntarily jumped by 291,000. This number is now 1,741,000 above the low for the cycle in April of 2006. Partly as a result of the large rise in the number of involuntary part-time workers, the Bureau of Labor Statistics U-6 measure of labor underutilization, which includes discouraged workers and involuntary part-time workers in addition to those counted as unemployed, rose to 10.3 percent in July. This is only slightly below the 10.4 percent peak in the last downturn, which was reached in September of 2003.
Other measures in the household survey also indicated a further weakening of the labor market. The percentage of unemployment due to workers quitting their job dropped from 9.8 to 9.7 percent, the share of the long-term unemployed jumped from 18.4 percent to 19.1 percent (although this is partly due to the extension of benefits), and the number of discouraged workers rose sharply.
On the establishment side, the bulk of the job loss continues to be in construction and manufacturing, but most sectors are reporting job losses.
Yesterday, I wrote about some of the methodological issues behind the most commonly-cited government statistics on inflation.

Similar controversies swirl around the unemployment rate, of course.
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