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On the Economy

On the jobs report

Payrolls went up 80,000 in October, which is below the average of the past year. Private sector jobs went up, while public sector jobs went down.

By Jared BernsteinGuest blogger / November 5, 2011

In this file photo, prospective employees and vendors attend a job fair in San Antonio. The economy added 80,000 new jobs in October, which is lower than this year's average monthly expansion of 125,000. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

Eric Gay/AP/File

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The jobs report for October just came out.  Headline numbers:

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Payrolls up 80,000.  That’s below the average of the past year—about 125K/month.   Once again, private sector jobs went up (104K); public sector, down (-24K).

Unemployment ticked down to 9%.

Revisions to Sept and Aug added about 100K on payrolls, cumulatively, to those months.

We’re just very much stuck in a slog here.  The private sector is expanding at a snail’s pace, while state and local governments continue to cut jobs.  It’s a vicious cycle where weak employment growth is leading to weak wage* and income growth and that’s dampening consumption and GDP growth.  And as long as consumers remain strapped, it’s hard for me to see why corporations sitting on trillions in cash reserves would invest here as opposed to expanding, emerging economies elsewhere.

Meanwhile, Congress remains in a fantasyland, wallowing in a well-deserved 9% approval rating and blocking every idea that might actually stimulate some job growth.

* year-over-year, wages were up 1.8%.  Consumer prices are rising, as of September, by 3.9% meaning real wages–the buying power of paychecks–are falling.

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