Against a backdrop of increasingly ominous economic indicators, the U.S. unemployment rate actually ticked downward by a tenth of a percentage point in July – clocking in at 9.1 percent. The “underemployment rate,” a broader, more accurate measure of joblessness, also edged downward by a tenth of a percent – from 16.2 to 16.1 percent.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the U.S. economy created 117,000 jobs last month – beating analysts’ expectations but still falling short of the 125,000 jobs a month needed to keep up with the growth in population. Figures from the previous two months were also revised upward, with an estimated 53,000 jobs created in May and 46,000 created in June.
That’s the good news …
The bad news? With the exception of February and March of this year, the unemployment rate has remained above 9 percent since the recession “ended” in June 2009.
Also, given the slowdown in overall economic growth and manufacturing activity it’s unlikely that the rate will rebound anytime soon. If anything, it appears as though the economy is headed into another “down cycle” – one which could push the rate even higher.
That’s obviously bad news for U.S. President Barack Obama, who pushed for – and passed – a costly bureaucratic bailout on the promise that it would keep unemployment below 8 percent. That didn’t happen. In fact, the unemployment rate has remained above 8 percent for the last thirty months – and above 9 percent for twenty-five of the last thirty months.
A total of 13.9 million Americans are currently unemployed – including 6.2 million who have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.
In South Carolina, the unemployment rate for the month of June clocked in at 10.5 percent while the underemployment rate – released quarterly – was 18.3 percent. South Carolina’s July unemployment numbers are scheduled to be released on August 19.