The DJIA rose more than 110 points after employment numbers were better than predicted for August. Here’s the relatively good news just posted by the U.S. Department of Labor: Nonfarm payroll employment changed little — down just 54,000 jobs in August, and the unemployment rate was about unchanged at 9.6 percent. Because of the end of many Census jobs, government employment fell by 114,000. But private-sector payroll employment continued to trend up modestly, adding a net 67,000, the government reported. The August report also revised earlier numbers from June and July. Initially, a combined job loss of 351,000 had been reported. Revised, the loss was reduced to 229,000.
Job gains were reported in the health care and construction sectors. But jobs fell by 27,000 in manufacturing. Hours on the job were unchanged. Average hourly earnings were up by just 0.3 percent. The still-disturbing number: 14.9 million workers are unemployed and looking for work, and about 6.2 million of them have been jobless for six months or more.
It’s not a great report, but it’s much better than the market was expecting. You are seeing job growth, but it’s really not enough. One encouraging sign is temp-help payrolls rose 17,000, meaning employers may be willing to hire fulltime workers in the near future. Temp-help payrolls had stalled in June and July after averaging a monthly gain of 45,000 from October to May. It’s still suggesting more of the same positive job growth, but not especially strong.
President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a speech about the economy later this morning.
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