Unemployment Rises To 9.2%

Get ready for the latest unexpected unemployment news!  Reuters brings us the grim tidings:

U.S. employment growth ground to a halt in June, with employers hiring the fewest number of workers innine months, dampening hopes the economy was on the cusp of regaining momentum after stumbling in recent months.

Nonfarm payrolls rose only 18,000, the weakest reading since September, the Labor Department said on Friday, well below economists’ expectations for a 90,000 rise.

Many economists raised their forecasts on Thursday after a stronger-than-expected reading on U.S. private hiring from payrolls processor ADP, and they expected gains of anywhere between 125,000 and 175,000.

The unemployment rate climbed to 9.2 percent, the highest since December, from 9.1 percent in May.

(Emphasis mine.)  Eighteen thousand jobs?  Dear God.  It takes 120,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth.  Fox News notes that the job death toll from the Obama presidency has now reached two and a half million.

As a little icing on the cake of despair, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised the already dismal job growth from April and May downward by 44,000 jobs.  Previously, only 54,000 new jobs were reported in May, and 244,000 in April.  Much of this growth came from a hiring spree by McDonald’s. 

Note that the widely-reported 9.2% unemployment rate is the carefully massaged U-3 statistic, which deliberately excludes discouraged job seekers and the underemployed, to make the situation appear less horrifying.  The real unemployment rate, the U-6 number that major media publications never talk about, is 16.2%.  That’s up from 15.8% in May.

Unemployment is not evenly distributed among all groups, or all areas of the country.  The unemployment rate for teenagers rose to 24.5% last month – and that’s during the summer, when they’re most likely to be seeking jobs.  In the District of Columbia, the teenage unemployment rate was 48.9% in May, and it just got worse.  By contrast, the teenage unemployment rate in fiscal-apocalypse Greece is 42.5%.

The cooked U-3 unemployment rate for adults without a high school diploma dipped slightly in June, from 14.7% to 14.3%, while it rose for every other education level.  That’s not a good sign for the future of the work force.

The report also notes that “the average workweek fell to 34.3 hours from 34.4 hours,” which means even people who still have jobs are being given fewer hours by their nervous employers, and “average hourly earnings slipped a penny.”

Reuters tries to spin this away with an unsourced assertion that “Economic activity in the first six months of the year was dampened by rising commodity prices and supply chain disruptions following Japan’s devastating earthquake in March.”  Really?  Then why was it so “unexpected?”  Business and government analysts knew all about rising commodity prices.  Even consumers have begun to notice the increased costs at grocery stores and restaurants.  As for Japan’s devastating earthquake, well, that was in all the papers.

Responding to the latest unemployment surge, House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) said, “Today’s numbers are sadly not a surprise, but another sign that President Obama’s spending agenda did not help our jobs crisis – it made it worse… With unemployment at its highest sustained level since the Great Depression and new business creation at its lowest level in 17 years, the lack of confidence among job creators is taking a horrific toll on our economy and on the American people.”

Major media outlets will report this news in the context of a “struggling” or “difficult” recovery.  There is no damned recovery when only 18,000 jobs are created in a month.  It’s time everyone who uses the word “recovery” was shamed off the national stage.  I’d normally suggest laughing them off the stage, but this is not funny at all.

The President is scheduled to address the disastrous new unemployment report in a press conference this morning.  Maybe he’ll choose another industry to demonize, now that corporate jets are played out, or tell us more about the job-killing tax increases he absolutely insists upon as a precondition for bringing federal spending under control.