Jobs picture continues to improve, though slowly

Thursday's ADP report showed a gain of 201,000 jobs in August. A nice surge, but this year hasn't given the consistent growth we've seen in the past.

By Jonathan Berr Sep 6, 2012 5:13PM
Variety of professionals standing together -- altrendo images, Stockbyte, Getty ImagesFor President Barack Obama, the jobs situation is mixed as he accepts the Democratic Party's nomination Thursday night for a second term.

Thursday's ADP report showed a gain of 201,000 jobs in August -- the biggest in five months -- and economists expect the Labor Department to report Friday that payrolls surged last month by 138,000.

But that isn't really saying much. The volatile jobs numbers we've seen this year are pretty dismal by historic standards. About 151,000 jobs per month were created on average during the 1980s and 181,000 per month were generated the following decade, according to a 2005 Federal Reserve research paper.

Though economists may quibble over the numbers, the consensus is that those figures are not sufficient to tackle unemployment in a meaningful way. Economist Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says that generating 250,000 jobs a month for the next four months would leave the jobless rate at 7.8%, below the 8.3% where it currently sits.

What's undeniable, though, is the jobs picture is getting better and that the gains are evident across the board, IHS Global Insight Chief US economist Nigel Gaul tells MSN Money. 

Friday's number "could be better than what we are looking for," he said in an interview. "The further we go out, the better chances are that we see some acceleration." Over the next four years, he added, he's looking for job creation to average 200,000 a month.

That's good news for whomever may be elected president -- provided, of course, that Europe doesn't fall further into an economic black hole and that members of Congress manage to avoid the fiscal cliff. Those are two big ifs.

In the months ahead, Obama will have to convince Americans that they are better off now than they would have been otherwise, though they may not be as financially well off. That's an especially tough argument to make given that wages are stagnant for most Americans and job creation has largely been lackluster. Though the administration repeatedly claims that it created 4.5 million private sector jobs, the Washington Post argues that figure is "cherry-picked." Obama's claim that his jobs plan would create 1 million new jobs is inflated, the newspaper said.

As I have argued before, the top priority for the U.S. is to generate new jobs. Everything else -- entitlement reform, taxes and the deficit -- should take a back seat. Whomever can articulate a vision to America get the country working again will win the election. That's an argument that Obama can win, though victory is not assured.

--Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter@jdberr

Sep 7, 2012 8:50AM


Labor participation rate now stands at an all time low since the administration took office, and all the media tells us Americans are getting back to work. What a bunch of lies and deception we are being fed every day.

Sep 7, 2012 9:48AM
I can't believe this article is still up.  Why do we even look at the ADP report?  Hey,  why don't we use the Coach321 report?  I'll let all of you know what I am going to say and we can get our trades in before the open.  Just like the big boys. Gees!
 "The further we go out, the better chances are that we see some acceleration."   Really?  that's one profound statement.  The Coach 321 translation "It sucks now but if you live long enough, things have to get better."   He's a Global Insite Chief?
It amazes me that people get paid to make these statements. 
Sep 7, 2012 9:31AM
The Celebration of Failure is over...  After almost 4 years of doing NOTHING on jobs, the imbecile "57 States" thinks we should fund more of his golf outings?  

No if you were a business person, given this administrations war on business would you hire anyone before November election?   No one is going to do that.  This administrations polices will continue  to insure government dependency.

If things are so good, why is welfare at record high, food stamps at a record high, disability (inspite of OSHA and huge growth in 'safety regulations) 700% higher?  

The economy is weak.  The stock market and commodities are being held up by the PRINTING of massive new amounts of dollars.  We have increased the money supply 44% since Obama is in office, that means every dollar out there is worth 44% less, PERIOD.

The American middle class cannot afford 4 more years of democrat economics.

NObama 2012!  
obama's 1 million job numbers are retarded - well i guess if you fudge the numbers by saying all healthcare workers will now be employeed by the govt, the 60,000 new irs agents they will need to come take your money for ocrapacare, and the employement of the death panels he may get close.
Sep 7, 2012 8:49AM
avatar did I know that the "jobs" picture was going to be "improved" after the DUMBocratic Irrational Contention...WHAT a freaking surprise. And yet the Libtard media has to add the caveat that 'this year hasn't given the consistent growth we've  seen in the past..'. What a big steaming pile. ADP is a left-wing based Blowbama lobbyist , who have donated over $2.5 million dollars to the Jokebama campaign in the last year ALONE. This is an OUTRAGE. And get THIS quote from the article - 'Whomever can articulate a vision to America get the country working again will win the election. That's an argument that Obama can win, though victory is not  assured...' Shovel, please.
Sep 7, 2012 9:54AM
Maybe jobs improved in the other '7' states that exisit in "57 States" mind?
Sep 7, 2012 12:11PM
Why doesn't Jonathan Berr tell the whole story about how the unemployment rates go down ie because the gov plays with the figures ie they take out of the figuring the 360,000 people who are no longer looking for work and have given up. If you total the unemployment, underemployed,  those no longer looking for work, those who may have gone back to college yhen the toyal unemployed comes darn close to 20%. Obama Must Go Out to Pasture. We don't need his socialist style governing any more...I di not like it from the start. Remember his statement spread the wealth...If you have $100 you may be called upon to give $50 of it to your neighbor.
Sep 7, 2012 12:01PM
What a crock of a banner. Job market improves - slowly. What can you expect from a site that receives its news feeds from NBC. The job market is horrible and shows no signs of improvement. Why not call it like it is. This President inherited a bad economy, true, but he has failed at improving it. Time for a change, I hope.
Sep 7, 2012 12:17PM

The unemployment numbers are regressing due to expiration of benefits.

At  the same time welfare and food stamps recipients are on the rise. If you look at bell curves of Welfare and Food Stamps, They will match the elimination of Unemployment Benefits.  If you add the numbers of Welfare an Food Stamp recipients (most are earthier Under Employed or Unemployed) to government’s Unemployment numbers. The Unemployment (true Unemployment numbers) numbers would be staggering.  Just changing the benefits from Unemployment to Welfare does not eliminate the numbers. So did we create Jobs or increases the poverty level?  Question that should be answered before you cast your vote.

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