Friday: Unemployment Unchanged at 9.5%; BP Closer to Sealing Well
Private employers added 71,000 jobs in July, up from a revised 31,000 in June but not nearly enough to help the unemployment rate, which remained unchanged at 9.5 percent.
Overall, the economy lost 131,000 jobs in July, the Labor Department said Friday, mostly because 143,000 temporary Census jobs ended.
The Labor Department also revised its jobs figures for June, saying businesses hired fewer workers than previously estimated. June’s private-sector job gains were lowered to 31,000 from 83,000.
The underemployment rate also remained unchanged at 16.5 percent. The underemployment rate includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time work and unemployed workers who’ve given up looking for jobs.
In all, 14.6 million people were looking for work in July.
The New York Times’ David Leonhardt sees “some glimmers of hope” in a weak report:
“Today’s report does not qualify as good news. This spring, it was possible to hope that this recovery would be a lot stronger than the typical recovery from a financial crisis. It’s now looking more like a normal such recovery — slow, uneven and uncertain.”
Megan McArdle of the Atlantic is more pessimistic:
“I think we can now dismiss any hopes of a summer recovery.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein sees “bad news for jobs, but tepidly good news for recovery”:
“At the end of the day, jobs are jobs. When people lose a job in the public sector, they become unemployed. And if we don’t step in and get more help to the states, we’re going to see hundreds of thousands of public-sector employees find that out. But so far as real recovery goes, that’s going to have to come from the private sector, and it’s notable that they’ve added jobs for the past seven months straight.”
We’ll have more on the jobs numbers on Friday’s NewsHour.
BP Waiting for Cement to Harden
BP is moving closer Friday to sealing its blown-out oil well in the Gulf of Mexico after pumping cement into the top of the well to hold down the mud that is stopping the leak. Engineers now plan to wait at least a day for the cement to harden. Crews will then work on injecting more mud and cement into the bottom of well to form a final plug.
Also remaining: Removing the leaked oil from the Gulf of Mexico and the coastal beaches and wetlands. Mark Schleifstein of the Times-Picayune writes:
“For 87 days, America watched oil gush into the ocean. Despite White House portrayals of the oil having mostly disappeared from the Gulf since the well was capped, state officials continue to warn that it could take 10 years or longer to determine the long-term effects of all that oil on both the environment and the economy of the Gulf and Gulf Coast communities.”
Flooding in Pakistan Continues
The worst monsoons in 80 years continue to hit south and central Pakistan, grounding helicopters carrying emergency supplies and forcing the evacuation of 500,000 people.
Flooding has submerged whole villages in the past week, killing about 1,600 people and affecting another 4.5 million. There is also mounting anger at President Asif Ali Zardari, who is on a state visit to Britain to meet Prime Minister David Cameron.
“[T]he Pakistani government is fast losing the hearts and minds of many of its own people. In places anger is intense over an inadequate response to the disaster. Neighbours and relief charities, including some with links to Islamic extremists, appear to be doing a better job of helping victims than the national authorities, at least in some blighted areas.”
U.S. Sends First Delegate to Hiroshima Ceremony
For the first time, a U.S. delegation attended a ceremony in Japan commemorating the atomic bomb attack on Hiroshima. U.S. Ambassador John Roos attended Friday’s anniversary event at Hiroshima’s Peace Memorial Park, 65 years after a U.S. bomb leveled the city, killing roughly 140,000, reports the Washington Post.
Obama Economic Adviser Resigns
For your politics news, including the resignation of Christina Romer, who has served as chairwoman of the Council of Economic Advisers at the White House, check out The Morning Line.