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Jobs reports trickle in, but little good news

Job seekers read pamphlets as they wait in line to enter a job fair in San Jose, California.

Jeremy Hobson: The August picture as far as we know right now looks like this: the payroll processing company ADP said this morning that the private sector hiring dipped last month, with only 91,000 jobs added. Meanwhile, the job placement firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas says the number of announced layoffs dropped from July -- but it was still a higher number of layoff announcements than last August. Both of these reports offer a preview of Friday's monthly survey from the Labor Department.

Richard DeKaser joins us now. He's an economist with the Parthenon Group who's with us live from Boston as he is every Wednesday. Good morning, Richard.

Richard DeKaser: Good morning.

Hobson: Well first, what do you make of these numbers from today?

DeKaser: Well I think it's more of the same. You know, according to ADP we've added about 100,000 jobs in each of the past three months. That is a little bit better than May, when we were about one-third that. Depressed, arguably, to temporary factors -- Japan's tsunami and high commodity prices. But the bottom line is that the economy continues to muddle along -- no double-dip, but nothing really to celebrate.

Hobson: Well you mentioned temporary factors, which is something a lot of people have talked about when it comes to weark hiring. But I have to say -- we're three years after Lehman Brothers and we're still not doing much here.

DeKaser: Well no, that's right. Sometimes economists refer to this whole process of recuperation that our economy's going through as deleveraging. And it's a long, slow process. The collapse of the housing market created a tremendous loss of wealth. People are struggling to scrimp together savings, payoff past debts. And the reality is that that's just a very gradual, recuperative process and its going to take some time. Until it's played itself out, we're likely to see this kind of moderate pace of economic growth.

Hobson: Richard Dekaser, economist with the Parthenon Group, thanks as always.

DeKaser: It is my pleasure, thank you.

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