Jobs report is real ugly, and that’s the good news
If you are an American looking for work — no, make that pleading to be allowed to earn a living — you already know this: the job market is even worse than Washington is telling us. And Washington yesterday told us that the employment situation is just plain ugly.
The Labor Department officially announced that only 18,000 jobs were created during the month of June compared to May’s levels. That’s considerably below the 157,000 jobs that payroll-processing firm ADP said on Thursday were added by companies in the private sector.
Our economy is said to need at least 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with people entering the workforce. So even job growth of 150,000 isn’t good enough.
Worse, not only are newcomers trying to find positions, but there are also 7.084 million fewer jobs in this economy than there were at the 2008 peak. So people who’d like to get their careers started are competing against millions of experienced job seekers looking to just get back into the game.
Now for the really bad news: that 18,000 gain announced by the government yesterday isn’t real.
For one thing, the number of jobs increased in June only because the Labor Department simultaneously revised downward the number of jobs that existed in this country during May. It’s like moving the fences at Citi Field so the Mets players can hit more home runs. It might make Jose Reyes feel better, but it doesn’t actually make him more powerful.
Without the fence-moving operation in the May employment report, the June number — yesterday’s number — would have shown a decline of 26,000 jobs.
Then there’s another problem with June’s employment report. Included in the 18,000 headline number is a guesstimate that 131,000 jobs were created by newly formed — and, therefore, invisible — companies.
If you want to send your resume to one of these companies, don’t bother. They probably don’t exist, and neither do the jobs the government thinks they are creating. These figments of the imagination of the Labor Department’s computers will probably disappear when the numbers are checked early next year.
Look even deeper in the June report and you’ll see something else you really don’t want to know. The more broadly defined U-6 unemployment rate, which includes people who are underemployed, went from 15.8 percent in May to 16.2 percent in June.
These are workers who want full-time jobs but can’t find them. And the U-6 figure doesn’t even include people who’ve given up looking for work because they believe it’s hopeless.
Since this entire column is filled with bad news, I may as well give it all to you at once: The job numbers are only going to get worse in the months ahead.