Economy adds 80,000 jobs in October

Alexa Besner, (L-R) Cristina Carrilla, Stephanie Stanford, Peter Hardy and Luz Valasquez speak with Diane-Brito Wigfall as she recruits workers for Talent Tree at a job fair put on by Monster.com on Nov. 5, 2009 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

Kai Ryssdal: Slow but steady. Decent but nothing to write home about.

That's pretty much been the jobs report mantra for a good long while now, and today's October numbers were more of the same. Eighty thousand jobs added all told -- nicely spread out in health care, hotels and restaurants, temp workers -- all of which leads to a slight down-tick in the unemployment rate to an even 9 percent.

There's some relief it wasn't worse, given all that's happening in Athens and Washington and Cannes and who knows where else. But it's not like this is a job market that's going to get us back to where we need to be now, is it? Marketplace's Mitchell Hartman reports.


Mitchell Hartman: So, what's a really rockin' economy sound like?

Marketplace clip: This morning when the Labor Department released a new report on job creation, analysts were expecting the numbers to be good, but they turned out to be twice as good as they predicted. Could it be? The end of the jobless recovery?

Unfortunately that's from Marketplace past: October 2004. And the jobless recovery was over -- we started getting 250,000, 300,000 new jobs a month for the next couple years.

Which isn't remotely likely now, says economist John Canally at LPL Financial.

John Canally: The jobs that were created during the last part of that recovery won't ever come back.

Canally says housing, which has time-and-again led the U.S. out of recession, is dead in the water and not reviving.

Canally: So there are an awful lot of construction workers, folks in the financial services industry -- people with that skill set are no longer needed in the economy.

And economists can't point to any other industry robust enough to absorb six million chronically unemployed Americans.

Dean Baker: This is really a disastrous situation.

Dean Baker at the Center for Economic and Policy Research argues that we can get back to 300,000 jobs a month and 5 percent unemployment -- but it'll take time.

Baker: You have to look for some additional source of stimulus, and obviously if the government were to do another round -- doesn't seem likely -- but if we were to get some part of President Obama's jobs plan, that would help.

Conservatives counter: 'loosen regulations on private industry and cut government.' But that's not likely to jumpstart job creation in the short term either.

I'm Mitchell Hartman for Marketplace.

About the author

Mitchell Hartman is the senior reporter for Marketplace’s Entrepreneurship Desk and also covers employment.

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