The U.S. Labor Department issued its monthly report on Friday, detailing the patterns of the American workforce in June. The national unemployment rate stayed at 8.2 percent and payrolls rose by just 80,000, maintaining a disappointing status quo for the summer of 2012. Many of the June statistics were virtually identical to their May counterparts, with the unemployment rate, number of unemployed people, and the long-term unemployed all staying the same. Unfortunately, May’s report was viewed as a train wreck, after spring reports seemed to be signaling a steady path of recovery for the economy.
For President Barack Obama, a series of continued disappointing results could prove harmful in this election year, with only four more reports due before polls open in November. Obama’s campaign will certainly have trouble convincing voters that the economy is recovering with unemployment hanging over eight percent.
If there is no sign of a growth in the next few months, the Federal Reserve may be motivated to provide an additional stimulus package for the economy. Such a decision will certainly be one of the talking points during the Federal Open Market Committee scheduled for July 31-Aug. 1.
Between April and May, the labor force had grown by 642,000, showing that people who had ultimately quit searching for work were being drawn back into the labor force to search for jobs at the start of the summer. However, from May to June, that growth slowed to just 156,000 new workers. The average length of unemployment time is now just south of 40 weeks, meaning an almost year-long search for those seeking new work.
Though current growth rates are failing to meet expectations, a steadying of the tide will lead to less uncertainty as officials try to repair the economy.