Political Animal


August 02, 2013 9:07 AM A Status Quo Jobs Report

By Ed Kilgore

The BLS’ Jobs Report for July was somewhat less positive than generally expected, but great news for people who like their economic recovery very slow and very steady. Net new jobs rose by 162,000, against a “consensus” expectation of 184,000, along with small downward revisions of earlier numbers for May and June (totaling 23,000). The positive headline is that the official unemployment rate edged down from 7.5% to 7.4%. Most sectors other than government and manufacturing (which were flat) registered small gains.

It’s unlikely markets will register any particularly significant reaction in either direction from this news unless it’s compounded—positively or negatively—by news or policy hints from elsewhere. But as everyone knows, all news is spinnable, so we’ll hear hear plenty on how the jobs situation reinforces everyone’s favorite prescriptions (infrastructure investments for Democrats, repealing Obamacare for Republicans) for a stubbornly sluggish economy with unemployment stuck at historically high levels.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


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