The headline of last week's employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics was the loss of another 125,000 in June. But a broader look suggests the overall job market is gradually improving. So writes Jim Haughey, chief economist for Reed Construction Data on its website.
Ignoring the short-term hiring and firing for the U.S. Census, the economy added 100,000 jobs in June, Haughey reports, 87,000 of them private jobs not dependent on another round of stimulus spending by Washington.
"This was the strongest labor market this year," he says.
"Private job gains will continue through the summer even though GDP growth slows with the phase down of most federal pump priming programs," Haughey says.
We can expect another decline in jobs this month as the Census continues winding down, but all in all, the job count is improving gradually, he adds. The net result is little help for job seekers, at least for the remainder of the year.
"Forty-five percent of the unemployed have been out of work for six months or longer, up from 30% a year ago," Haughey says. "Personal financial reserves have been depleted and unemployment benefits are now ending for several hundred thousand people a week. This is a significant restraint on economic growth for several years."
The economy must generate 175,000 jobs a month to absorb currently unemployed workers and new workers entering the job market, Haughey explains. "This is possible by year end, but not sooner," he concludes.