A dismal June employment report has sent the markets downhill today, as the economy was only able to add 80,000 jobs in the month. This also includes the May employment figures that were revised upwards to 77,000 jobs created, but it wasn’t enough to move the unemployment rate past 8.2%.
This is certainly not good news for President Obama, who has been repeatedly criticized for his economic policies of the last three and a half years, and is facing a tough re-election battle. According to the Wall Street Journal, only 225,000 jobs have been gained in the last quarter, making it the worst performing quarter since 2010. Economic analysts point to slowdowns in Europe and China as the reasons for the sluggish economy, but another potential reason could be the impending “fiscal cliff” of tax increases at the end of the year that is keeping businesses from hiring.
There are some good signs, though, from these numbers. Nearly 150,000 people entered the labor force in the past month, which can be seen as a sign that people are putting more faith in an economic recovery. Also, the average hourly wage increased 6 cents to $23.50/hr, and the average workweek increased to 34.5 hours/wk. Even still, the sluggish numbers underscore a less than vibrant economy that, despite billions of dollars in stimulus spending and threats of tax increases by the Obama administration, is not as strong as some in the administration would like us to believe.