Several of you have asked whether today's report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is good news or bad news.
First, the good news, such as it is: The jobless rate for June ticked up by just .1 percent, to 9.5. The last report, for May, showed a jump of .5 percent.
You can also consider the overall number of jobs lost last month.
Economists had expected to see 365,000 jobs cut. Instead, employers canned 467,000 people. That's a gulp.
Personally, I'm struck by how long people are remaining out of work -- a figure that has steadily increased with the recession. We're up to an average of 24.5 weeks for the average job search, two weeks longer in than last month's report. "[B]road job losses are effectively making unemployment a way of life for millions," the New York Times reports. That's pure misery on a Saltine cracker.
You could also look at what's happening to wages, which are flat, flat, flat. Ian Shepherdson of High-Frequency Economics writes, "[O]minously, hourly earnings were unchanged for the second time in three months." He predicts, "Wages will soon be
falling outright, a classic deflation signal."