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Jobs Report: -95,000, without Census -18,000

I didn’t realize the Census had so many more jobs to shed, making the September employment report sure to look weak from the topline numbers. But it’s scarcely better when you dig into the data, showing that government hiring across the board, in the form of state and local budget cuts, is a serious drag on an already-slow economy.

The numbers, from the Bureau of Labor Statistics: the economy lost 95,000 jobs in September, with the topline unemployment rate unchanged at 9.6%. 77,000 of those losses came from reductions at the 2010 US Census, so taking that out of the equation you’re still at -18,000. The private sector gained 64,000 jobs, the ninth straight month of private-sector gains. But government and public-sector jobs outside the Census also crashed, a victim of continued rolling budget cuts, mostly in education. That has furthered the jobs crisis.

Even a 64,000 monthly job increase in the private sector isn’t enough to keep up with population trends, and certainly not enough to fill the yawning gap in jobs with 14.8 million people out of work. And there are millions more part-time workers, discouraged workers and others marginally attached to the labor force. The employment/population ratio was unchanged.

By the way, this doesn’t take into account the shuttering of the TANF Emergency Fund at the end of September, a job-subsidy program responsible for 250,000 jobs. So October’s report could be even more brutal.

We’re basically in a crippling stasis in the job market. Even the July and August estimates edged downward, though by minimal amounts (12,000 in July, 3,000 in August). It’s very hard to see where the jobs come back from; there don’t seem to be many burgeoning sectors out there just waiting to be tapped. At current trends, we would never return to full employment in any of our lifetimes.

More from Calculated Risk and the Washington Independent.

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David Dayen

David Dayen