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Business | National | Friday, July 2nd, 2010, 8:12 pm

Private sector not recovering fast enough for long-term unemployed

As expected, today’s June jobs report from the Department of Labor held some bad news for the U.S. economy.

Overall, the U.S. shed 125,000 jobs in June. Only 83,000 jobs were created in the private sector in June. Though it was a major improvement from May’s 33,000, economists had predicted 110,000 new private sector jobs. The unemployment rate now stands at 9.5 percent, down slightly from 9.7 percent for May.

“Taking into account revisions to prior months, the U.S. economy added an average of around 150,000 jobs a month in the first half of 2010, a level that’s still not strong enough to bring unemployment down significantly,” the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The drop in the unemployment rate is deceptive. While a 0.2 percent decrease seems like a good thing, in this case, it means the work force is shrinking because people have stopped looking for jobs. The Bureau of Labor Statistics doesn’t count the “discouraged” workers who haven’t actively looked for a job in four weeks, nor do they count those who work part-time but want full-time employment.

If the BLS included those groups of people, the unemployment rate would actually be 16.5 percent.

Much of the loss came from the 225,000 temporary Census workers exiting their jobs. The Census added 433,000 workers in May, making it appear that the economy was doing much better than it really was.

The Takeaway:

More people are staying unemployed longer. The private sector is showing growth, but recovery may be contingent on government stimulus.

D.S. MacLeod is editor of The Haul and a founding editor of the Observer.

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