[Posted by Karl]
Unexpectedly, Reuters gets a not-terrible use of “unexpectedly” today:
U.S. payrolls increased 117,000, the Labor Department said on Friday, above market expectations for an 85,000 gain. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.1 percent from 9.2 percent in June, but this was mostly the result of people leaving the labor force.
Note the last part; according to Bloomberg, the share of the eligible population holding a job declined to 58.1 percent, the lowest since July 1983. As NRO’s Jim Geraghty put it, “Since January 2009, Obama’s policies have successfully lowered unemployment by driving 3,566,000 Americans from the work force.” In the household survey over the last three months alone, the labor force is down 500K, the number of employed is down 500K, and the number unemployed is unchanged. If the active labor force was as big as it was when Pres. Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.7 percent. Also, average weekly hours worked for all employees were flat at 34.3 hours, essentially the same as year ago. Plus, temporary help, usually a precursor of future hiring, added 0 jobs in July.
Today’s report may help avert a meltdown in the markets, which is something. However, by every standard Obama listed in his megalomaniacal speech about slowing the rise of the oceans, the United States is either stagnant or worse off than in 2008. Indeed, according to White House press flack Jay Carney: “The White House doesn’t create jobs.”
Update: Markets are headed down again today. There’s a rumor going around trading desks that I won’t recirculate. It concerns the possibility of bad news after the close of trading. We”ll see.
Update 2: Markets are back up marginally at midday. I hope that means the rumor has been discarded.
Update 3: Markets closed pretty flat… but the rumor has made it into the media: CNBC is reporting that the government is preparing for a possible downgrade from S&P. There are reasons to be skeptical.
Update 4: “A government official tells ABC News that the federal government is expecting and preparing for bond rating agency Standard & Poor’s to downgrade the rating of US debt from its current AAA value…” And according to the source (caution there), the S&P will blame the GOP position on tax increases, as opposed to Democratic intransigence on entitlements. Of course.
Update 5: The effect of a downgrade — if it occurs — may be minor at this point.
Update 6: Jake Tapper’s story now adds: “Another government official confirms the Obama administration is preparing for the downgrade but is not 100% positive it’s going to happen, and if it does happen officials are not sure when it will happen…”