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Bummer summer: Key jobs report disappoints

Unemployed people read about employment opportunities at a job forum on September 6, 2013.

We added a not-really-adequate 169,000 new jobs in August. The unemployment rate ticked down a tenth-percent to 7.3 percent. And when you dig down, it gets worse: The number of jobs added in June and July were revised down. And the unemployment rate is coming down mostly because not as many people are looking for work. In point of fact, fewer Americans were working in August than July.

"There really wasn't a whole lot in this jobs report to be happy about," says FT Alphaville's Cardiff Garcia. "The revisions downward were especially worrying. But you know what really makes it bad isn't even really the headline number, the 169,000 -- it's that we know the pace of support from the Federal Reserve is set to slow down soon and there's no other kind of help coming. The government's certainly not going to help, and if anything, it's been actively hurting. So this is a really bad report; I don't see anything to cheer about."

Many are in fact expecting the Fed to taper its bond-buying program sometime in the near future, maybe even by next month. Will this jobs report change those plans?

"The Fed has made two commitments so far: It said it's going to start tapering by the end of the year, but it won't so until the labor market is strong enough. What this jobs report tells us is that the labor market -- there's too much uncertainty and it's not strong enough for a tapering path to be anything but bumpy," says Bloomberg Government's Nela Richardson. "It will not be smooth. And we can expect that there might be pauses, even reversals, in tapering. It won't be a smooth path to the end of the stimulus."

And we've got your weekend #longreads picks from the Wrappers. Here's what they've got for you:

Nela chooses:

  • William Polk provides a comprehensive assessment of the chemical attacks in Syria and of the issues confronting Congress as it considers a U.S. attack on the country.
  • Malcolm Gladwell ponders the existence of the 'sport gene' that gives athletes a genetic advantage over everyone else and leaves us to question just how fair high-level athletic competition can really be.
  • Silla Brush and Robert Schmidt explain how the powerful bank lobby was able to loosen U.S. regulators' reins on Dodd-Frank derivatives reform.

Cardiff suggests:

About the author

Kai Ryssdal is the host and senior editor of Marketplace, public radio’s program on business and the economy.

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