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Friday, May 4, 2012

Mixed News as Unemployment Falls to 8.1 Percent

Posted by on Fri, May 4, 2012 at 7:29 AM

The US economy added a disappointing 115,000 net new jobs in in April, below analysts expectations, but the unemployment rate declined to 8.1 percent as the workforce shrunk.

Not great news. Then again, these are preliminary numbers. The previous two months' numbers have been revised to show the economy gaining 53,000 more jobs in February and March than previously reported.

Economist Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research advises in caution in evaluating these numbers:

It is important not to place too gloomy a picture on the April data. The weakness in March and April is the flip side of the stronger growth the prior three months. Nonetheless the economy is not growing fast enough to bring unemployment down quickly.

It is virtually certain that the unemployment rate will rise in coming months.

So what does all this mean for President Obama's job prospects? Hard to say. The economies of many crucial swing states like Ohio, Virginia, and Iowa, are doing better than the nation as a whole, with unemployment rates ranging between 5 and 7.5 percent. On the other hand swing states like Nevada and Florida, with economies that had been overly dependent on the housing bubble, have unemployment rates that remain significantly higher.


Comments (9) RSS

Oldest First Unregistered On Registered On Add a comment
Yeah, it's important to remember that the drop in unemployment is because fewer people are looking for work, not because anything actually improved. Still not a good situation.
Posted by NateMan on May 4, 2012 at 7:49 AM · Report this
Kinison 2
"So what does all this mean for President Obama's job prospects? Hard to say. "

If the President were Republican, you wouldn't be shy about suggesting what it might mean. Way to show your true partisan hack colors Toby!
Posted by Kinison on May 4, 2012 at 7:54 AM · Report this
Goldy 3
@1: Well, the unemployment rate has dropped a full point since August, and much of that overall improvement, about three quarters, has been due to more people finding work. So it's important to keep that in perspective regardless of what the April numbers.

@2: Since when have I ever claimed not to be partisan? At least I'm honest about my bias and careful with my facts unlike my counterparts on the ed boards.
Posted by Goldy on May 4, 2012 at 7:58 AM · Report this
Theodore Gorath 4
Does Baker elaborate an why he believes the unemployment numbers will go back up, rather than just devolve into a slow, slow trickle?

@2: I am unsure why exactly you have a problem with this very balanced, measured commentary on the economy. You seem to be arguing that Goldy is a partisan hack, while at the same time complaining that the post is not partisan enough to prove you right.

Posted by Theodore Gorath on May 4, 2012 at 7:59 AM · Report this
Max Solomon 5
looks like 3+ years of GOP obstruction is working as planned.
Posted by Max Solomon on May 4, 2012 at 8:24 AM · Report this
Urgutha Forka 6
If a republican was president instead of Obama, we wouldn't even be talking about unemployment at all. We'd all be talking about our war in Iran.
Posted by Urgutha Forka on May 4, 2012 at 9:16 AM · Report this
Actually, the 8.1 percent number is seasonally adjusted, upwards. The raw figure is 7.7%, which is not a figure you're going to hear anyone from the GOP vocalizing.

Also, the employment situation is being exacerbated by local and state Republican governments all across the country, who are cutting budgets and forcing the lay off of employees. Teachers took a big hit last month.
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on May 4, 2012 at 10:07 AM · Report this
Will in Seattle 8
Seattle is doing much, much better.

It's just the inefficient tax-subsidized suburbs and tax-subsidized rural areas that are hurting, quite frankly.
Posted by Will in Seattle on May 4, 2012 at 10:55 AM · Report this
Posted by lark on May 4, 2012 at 3:26 PM · Report this

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