Patt Morrison for August 3, 2012

Jobs, jobs, jobs: What does the latest jobs report mean?

Obama Urges Congress To Preserve Middle Class Tax Cuts

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U.S. President Barack Obama speaks about tax legislation facing Congress at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building August 3, 2012 in Washington, DC. Earlier in the day a new employment report was released indicating that 163,000 new jobs were added to the U.S. economy and the unemployment rose slightly to 8.3 percent in the month of July.

The U.S Labor Department released its latest jobs report. The U.S. economy added 163,000 jobs in July, which beat the expectations of many economists, according to KPCC’s Matt DeBord. Despite the addition of 163,000 jobs, the unemployment rate slightly increased from last month’s 8.2 percent to the current figure of 8.3 percent. But what does that actually mean for the labor market?

Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist at UCLA, said the numbers aren't too bad when looking at the three years the U.S. has spent so far on climbing out of the recession. He added that there are two pieces of encouraging news from the jobs report: "One is that the duration of unemployment fell and worked weeks were up slightly. The second is, in the private sector, job gain was widespread with the exception of construction."

According to Nickelsburg, this is the slowest recovery America has seen since WWII, but he attributes some of that to the U.S. economy undergoing structural change, from an industrial economy to an "information economy." He went on to remind those worried about the economy's recovery pace to be patient.

"Manufacturing in the U.S. has been shrinking in terms of employment ... for more than 20 years. It is going to be very difficult to come in and institute policies that are going to change this very quickly," Nickelsburg explained. "Typically these transitions take 7 to 8 years – sometimes longer – and we're only about midway through it."

The jobs report includes a lot of figures that don’t quite definitively indicate which direction the economy is headed. "It gives both candidates fodder to play to what they consider to be their own strengths," Politico's Dave Levinthal said.

President Obama is stating that his vision for the economy has made a positive impact on the economy. "That means that we've now created 4.5 million new jobs over the last 29 months and 1.1 million new jobs so far this year," Obama said in Washington D.C this morning. GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney attacked Obama’s economic record: "we've now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate above 8 percent," Romney said in a statement.

Levinthal said he suspects the outcome of the presidential race will be determined by absolute swing states and their economic conditions there, more so than the U.S. economy as a whole.

WEIGH IN:

Do you feel like the economy is recovering?

Guests:

Dave Levinthal, Money and Politics reporter for POLITICO

Jerry Nickelsburg, senior economist, UCLA Anderson Forecast


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