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August job growth a net-zero gain

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released its August jobs report Friday morning, finding that a small increase in private-sector employment of 17,000 jobs was exactly offset by a loss of 17,000 public-sector jobs. Unemployment remains unchanged at 9.1 percent.

However, the U-6 measure — including involuntary part-time workers, marginally attached workers and discouraged workers — is unchanged at 16.2 percent. This is the first jobs report with a net job change of zero since February 1945.

However, the jobs report did include the strike of 45,000 Verizon workers who have since come back to the job — still, 45,000 jobs created is anemic growth since the BLS estimates that it takes about 125,000 jobs per month to keep up with population growth alone. Since September 2008, 550,000 local government jobs have been lost.

Modest June and July job gains were revised downward as well, from 46,000 to 20,000 in June and 117,000 to 85,000 in July. Wages declined by three cents from July to $23.09 per hour, and are up 1.9 percent from a year ago. Hours edged down by one basis point to 34.2 hours per week.

The bottom line? Job growth remains net negative with population growth, and is nowhere near enough to reduce the unemployment rate.

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