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Just 69,000 Jobs Added In May; Unemployment Rate Edges Up To 8.2 Percent

Filed by KOSU News in US News.
June 1, 2012

The nation’s unemployment rate rose to 8.2 percent in May from 8.1 percent in April as just 69,000 jobs were added to public and private payrolls, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said this morning.

Both numbers are disappointments. Economists had expected BLS would say the jobless rate had stayed at 8.1 percent and that payrolls expanded by at least 150,000 jobs.

We’ll be adding to this post as we gather more data from the report and reactions to it, so hit your “refresh” button to be sure you’re seeing our latest updates.

Update at 9:01 a.m. ET. There Are 5.4 Million “Long-Term Unemployed”:

According to BLS, “the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) rose from 5.1 to 5.4 million in May. These individuals accounted for 42.8 percent of the unemployed.”

Update at 8:58 a.m. ET. What’s Going On? “Broad Uncertainty”:

Here’s how The Wall Street Journal is summing things up:

“Nearly three years after the recession ended, the economy has failed to gain traction amid broad uncertainty related to Europe’s debt crisis, the potential for steep U.S. tax increases and spending cuts next year, and signs of slower growth in developing countries.”

Update at 8:55 a.m. ET. Stock Futures “Plummeting.”

From The Associated Press:

“U.S. stock futures are plummeting after the release of a report on the job market that was far weaker than economists expected. Dow Jones industrial average futures, which were down 100 points before the report came out at 8:30 a.m. ET Friday, dropped an additional 100 points within minutes.”

Update at 8:49 a.m. ET. A Vicious Cycle?

Economists sometimes talk about “virtuous” and “vicious” cycles. Basically, once the economy gets on a roll it can continue to expand as confidence, incomes and jobs all rise and build on each other. Conversely, when things aren’t going well that can create a downward spiral.

Bloomberg News writes that:

“Bigger job and wage gains are needed to jumpstart a self- sustaining increase in hiring and consumer spending that will boost the expansion. At the same time, a looming recession in the euro area and slower growth in China and Brazil may prompt American companies to reduce headcount until they see more evidence the U.S. economy isn’t faltering.”

Update at 8:47 a.m. ET. A “Sputtering” Economy?

Here’s how The Associated Press sums up the news: “The dismal jobs figures could fan fears that the economy is sputtering.”

Update at 8:46 a.m. ET. Sharp Slowing From First Quarter:

According to BLS, in the first quarter the average monthly gain in payrolls was 226,000. But payrolls grew by just 77,000 in April and 69,000 in May.

Update at 8:44 a.m. ET. Number Of “Discouraged Workers” Remains High:

In another sign of the labor market’s weakness, BLS says “there were 830,000 discouraged workers in May, about the same as a year earlier.”

Update at 8:39 a.m. ET. Sharp Downward Revision Of April’s Gain:

BLS initially thought payrolls grew by a net 115,000 jobs in April, but now says just 77,000 positions were added that month. [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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