Jobs Report Out: 125,000 Pink Slips, Unemployment Falls To 9.5%

The much-watched Department of Labor’s jobs report came out today, and while it ain’t pretty, it ain’t ugly enough to make you stay home from the dance either.

125,000+ lost their job last month, more than the 110,000 predicted. Unemployment, forecast to be at 9.8%, actually fell to 9.5%. (Because the two numbers are calculated differently, it is possible for one to go up while one goes down). Only 83,000 jobs were added, but that’s double May’s numbers. The economy appears to growing, slowly, and in fits and starts.

Factory orders fell 1.4% in May, the first time in 9 months. Stock response was varied, with two stocks falling for every one that rose, but broader indexes fell overall.

Employment Situation Summary [US Department of Labor]


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  1. Ominous Gamer says:

    unemployment only fell because for some stupid reason the unemployment rate is calculated using the U3 rule, which gets to ignore the huge amount of people who just became classified as long term unemployment.

    • iggy21 says:

      This is true, unemployment does not include the unemployed that have given up on looking for a job.

    • Mike says:

      It’s like you read my mind. U-3 sucks.

    • DanRydell says:

      “People who just became classified as long term unemployment” is inaccurate. U3 excludes people who are not currently looking for work and people who are “underemployed.” It’s not a bad measure of unemployment, and it’s useful for historical comparison (because the other levels of unemployment were not measured in the past).

      • Ominous Gamer says:

        It was a reference to the discouraged workers, the 99ers, who will be losing benefits soon. The more than 1 million unemployed that the U3 gets to ignore.

        • DanRydell says:

          It’s a common misconception that the unemployment rate excludes people who are no longer able to collect unemployment benefits. It’s not clear if that’s what you’re saying, but people who have been unemployed for 99 weeks are NOT excluded from U3 unless they have stopped looking for work.

          Seems to me that someone whose unemployment benefits have run out would be looking for work even more than before. That is the case with the only people I know who are in that 99 week group.

          • Ominous Gamer says:

            Economists predict that by losing their last safety, after more than a year of not being able to better themselves, most of the 99ers will end up becoming classified as discouraged workers.

            To think that unemployment benefits some how made these people less likely, or unwilling to find a job before now is just stupid.


            Thats not even getting into how the U3 ignores those that are underemployed. Taking jobs that are not able to provide enough to cover basic living requirements.

      • JuliB says:

        Umm…. it changed under Clinton’s Administration.

    • sonneillon says:

      I do not like the way they measure unemployment, however the measure is the same they have always used so it is useful as a comparison to previous levels of unemployment. It is disingenuous to use a new standard of unemployment to compare against historic levels using the old standard, which many people often do with some statistical treachery. More useful to this from different publications, is we’ve gained more jobs than we lost by a reasonable margin.

  2. Mike says:

    For the record the number we get for unemployment is not really very accurate. The Bureau of Labor statistics changed how they calculated the number back in the late seventies. If you want a more accurate number you need to go to their website:

    We are told the U-3 number in the media, but the U-6 number is closer to how we used to calculate unemployment, and right now according to that number unemployment is 16.5% which at least from my experience sounds more accurate of what I see around me.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      That would equivalent to roughly one in every six people being out of work.

      • ghostfire says:

        Yeah, sounds about right.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        What’s even scarrier when you look at that number is the fact that it is an average. There are some places that unemployment really isn’t that bad (in suburbia north of Dallas u6 in March was only about 9%, which is REALLY low). I would hate to look at Michigan and the rust belt.

      • DanRydell says:

        No it wouldn’t, because U6 includes people who are working.

      • qualia says:

        As someone under 30 who hangs out with some recent grads, I’d say 1/2 of them are either part time at around 10 an hour or unemployed for up to a year after graduation. Not BS degrees either. The ones who were employed started looking early in their last semester of school. It’s rough out there.

  3. areaman says:

    For the people who point out the official rate is too low/inaccurate… I just use this simple formula to get a real unemployment/underemployment figure.

    office figure x 2 = real unemployment/underemployment rate

    I take underemployment to mean people who have part time work and looking for full time, people who have master’s degrees in architecture selling cars, etc..

  4. inferno493 says:

    If you’re going to post one sided information it would be nice to have a counter point. Saying the economy appears to be growing in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary only creates an atmosphere of apathy about the whole situation. Strong economic reforms are needed and widespread vigilance will be necessary if we wish to make the necessary changes in the face of strong opposition from corporations backed by lobbyists’ wielding millions of dollars in campaign contributions and the politicians who support them. Google Mish for an alternative look at the unemployment information coming out of Washington.

  5. Buckus says:

    Well, if they’d replace those statues with Americans willing to stand outside in Blues Brother’s outfits, that would be one more job. Stupid statues taking jobs from Americans.

  6. ARP says:

    The problem is that we use the GDP, U3 umemployment others types of superficial measures to describe the health of our economy. It’s used as a sword (Obama- the recession is over) and shield (Bush- there’s no recession). I keep saying what’s needed is an easier use use “meta” measure of our economy. So put economic measures into a few different categories:

    1) Employment and Salaries
    2) GDP, import/export, and productivity
    3) Personal Debt and Savings rates
    4) Government Spending/Deficit
    5) Stock Market, Bonds, Derivatives, etc.

    So for Employment and Salaries, we’d look at unemployment rate, discouraged workers, mean salaries (not average since that gets skewed by the wealthy), etc. Each of those feed into a score (1-10, 1-100,etc.), which then feeds into a Category Score for Employment and Salary. Do that for each major category and you have enough detail to figure out where the strengths and weaknesses are within the economy without over/under simplification. If you want to break it out, it’s easier to do. It’s also easy to spot where one part is propping up the other (e.g. high government debt is funding job growth).

    • Akuma Matata says:

      The fact that the gov can use it as a sword and shield is exactly why politician’s want to keep it that way. It’s no different than the CBO – tools that can obfuscate the truth.

    • ej84 says:

      I agree — the whole area of economic statistics needs an overhaul — starting at the top with GDP (gross domestic product) which is the statistic most commonly used to measure “economic growth”. The number to watch should be one that measures economic well-being, taking into account things such as leisure time, health, and availability of education.

      A necessary first step would be exactly what you propose: grouping various measures under broad concepts and recognizing that each area deserves attention.

  7. ElizabethD says:

    Hey, I got one of those nice pink slips. Officially unemployed as of yesterday. *sigh*

    • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

      Good luck. It took me 15.5 months to land A job.

      • ElizabethD says:

        Thanks. Until a year ago, my husband was unemployed for two years. Arghhh. I hate this economy.

        Glad you found another job.

        • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

          It took some serious finagling and moving from Phoenix to Denver (although I had wanted to do that for years); and that includes being fully qualified as a paramedic in a “high demand” field.

          I’ve come to the conclusion that traditional unemployment education i.e. BA, MBA or similar is no longer a viable employability improvement. Since so many people now have advanced generalist degrees to be better positioned a degree that is a “training” type is the best option. Someone today with an MSW, or LCSW or certain medical training (not RN) will have jobs right out of school.

          Something to consider.

  8. zifnab0 says:

    Hooray for “recovery summer!”

    Since the massive government spending program of last year (and the year before that) appear to have made the situation worse, it’s clear that there’s only one solution:


    …maybe we’ll be out of this by 2012 when we elect an adult to the White House.

    • slappysquirrel says:

      Just out of curiosity, which person who is likely to run do you consider an “adult?”

    • ARP says:

      Thank God when Bush was in Power we didn’t have massive government spending programs like drug benefits, or two wars…oh, wait.

      If you’re not paying for your wars, your drug benefits, or your tax cuts they’re, “massive government spending programs.”

    • PsiCop says:

      As someone who works for a (private-sector) company that includes both businesses and public agencies as clients … I can say that “government spending” is not a black-box into which money disappears, never to be seen again. It does usually get into the private sector, often directly (as in the case of our public-sector clients who hire us), and indirectly (as in when people get unemployment benefits, then spend that money largely in the private sector, or save it, then later spend it in the public sector).

      The idea that “government spending” and “consumer spending” and “corporate spending” are all iconic, self-contained entities that never mix, is simply, flat-out untrue. They bleed over into each other constantly. Probably much more often than most people realize.

      Thus, in the end, there’s not really much difference between “government spending” and “corporate spending” programs. Most of the money spent both by corporations and by governments is in the form of pay, to employees or beneficiaries, which directly becomes “consumer spending.” That money, in turn, is funneled back to government in consumer-level taxes, or the private sector, and then some of that goes to government in business-level taxes, or into other entities in the private sector … and around and around it goes.

  9. Akuma Matata says:

    Right, so only our gov’t calculation of unemployment could show that 125k people losing their jobs actually reduces the number of unemployed people. Fabulous.

  10. brianisthegreatest says:

    I wonder what kinds of jobs people are looking for… We are always having troubles finding employees in the IT field that are capable of performing required tasks and answering simple questions. This was a topic at lunch the other day, it’s interesting to see that it’s so bad still…

    • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

      I disagree that you are having trouble finding people, and posit that you are having trouble finding the people you want to hire not competent ones you can hire.

      I was unemployed for 15.5 months eventually applying for things like help desk, and similar entry level IT jobs. I never made it past the thanks but no thanks HR letter. And this is with extensive knowledge of IT (albeit not of the sys admin/db/admin kind) systems and application AND an MBA.

      No, I now firmly believe that employers are absolutely unwilling to hire anyone who is over qualified/educated or for a job that truly is well below the skill set of the applicant. It’s hard to blame the employer as they know this person will bolt to a better job as soon as they can. There was a time when an employer could have gotten a management qualified, MBA for $8/hr but not now, most of us have learned to just say no.

      • Willow16 says:

        I agree with you. My husband was laid off in May as Director of IT. He was hands on with lots of experience but can’t even get an interview now for any type of job even if he is highly qualified (and that’s with him sending out hundreds of resumes a week). Just this past week he took the Director title off his resume and put everything that he did as Director under his previous title – Network Admin. Hopefully he can just get someone to look at his resume now.

        • Master Medic: Now with more Haldol says:

          Good luck to you. I stopped listing the MBA and scaled back my titles to mid-management, it did help to increase call backs. I’d say the potential for being hired now is better, but still very difficult.

          This guy has a similar unemployment experience as I had, and I can say unequivocally that as the days and weeks of no responses add up, it helps.

      • PsiCop says:

        IT jobs are scarce in the US, and soon will be non-existent. Some functions which once had been done by IT have been automated, or are now done by other workers (i.e. in non-IT departments). Other IT functions are being filled H-1B visa workers, or have been shipped overseas. Basically, companies have decided they don’t really need any skilled IT workers any more.

        I will say that companies claim to be hiring … if people have experience with niche products. Often those niche products are of the company’s own making, or are all but unknown, meaning the pool of candidates they’ll pick from is small or non-existent. For instance, I once saw a job listing for a big insurance company that said applicants needed to have experience with software having some alphabet-soup title I’d never heard of before. I searched online and found of that alphabet-soup title was something that company had invented for itself! So they were willing to hire people who’d worked for them … but no one else. Another company wanted applicants who knew a software package which I had heard of (but hadn’t used) but which has actually been defunct since 2001 or so.

        In both cases I can only assume these “requirements” were merely rationales intended to restrict applications and turn people away without having to deal with them. From my viewpoint, as someone who spent months just trying to interview for an IT job but couldn’t find one for the longest time, I simply am not buying the idea that there are no qualified IT workers out there. No way. The country is full of out-of-work IT people who, for the most part, cannot be hired for anything, because companies refuse to pay anyone real wages to do any IT work. (Yes, they’ll pay foreign workers much less than an American will get … but they can get away with that, can’t they?)

  11. Eldritch says:

    Just nailed a job after six months of employment. It was still very difficult to achieve though.

  12. AngryK9 says:

    Meanwhile, Big Oil continues to gain record profits. Various CEOs recieved their multi-million dollar summer bonus checks. Insurnace Companies also saw extensive profits as additional premium hikes took effect. HOAs continued to be profitable after a record number of foreclosures and short sales, while all along the Gulf Coast another 100 fishermen filed for bankruptcy.

  13. cmdr.sass says:

    With all this bad news, it’s time to stop saying that the economy is “in recovery” and start saying that it’s on life support.

  14. ej84 says:

    So, we have 125,000 lost jobs and 83,000 new jobs. That means that net net there are 42,000 job-units that were there and are no longer there (aside from retirements and entries into the work force, which over the course of one month I am assuming are not significant compared to the big two numbers.)

    If the unemployment rate has gone down with 42,000 less jobs, that would most likely be from people giving up on getting a job — they are no longer “unemployed” because they are not seeking employment because it is fruitless to look.

    Rates are often deceptive as statistics. Whole numbers are much more reliable.

  15. ElizabethD says:

    Rhode Island has been near, at, or over 13% for about a year now. And I’ve joined the sad statistics this summer.

    • ElizabethD says:

      Ummm, this was supposed to be a reply to bluepenguin in another thread. Sorry — didn’t mean to whine so much!