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Jobs report: Millions of desperate Americans

Today's new unemployment report shows that the economy added 103,000 jobs in September.
Jobs report: Millions of desperate Americans
Jobs report: Millions of desperate Americans

Today's new unemployment report shows that the economy added 103,000 jobs in September. Of those, about 45,000 are a statistical blip from Verizon workers striking and then returning to work. The private sector yet again added jobs -- 137,000 of them -- while government layoffs at various levels put 34,000 people out of work. Together, it adds up to 9. 1 percent unemployment for the second straight month, a shadow unemployment rate of 16.5 percent, and an average job search of 40.5 weeks. That is the reality on the ground, as lived by Americans right now in 2011.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) took the occasion to argue that Republicans have accomplished nothing toward fixing the economy and to blame the other side for it. "Unfortunately, while the House has passed more than a dozen jobs bills this year, most have yet to receive a vote in the Democratic-led Senate," Mr. Boehner said in a statement. Here's the list of bills the GOP calls "jobs bills," mostly about taxes and regulation, neither of which have much to do with our jobs crisis in the short run.

And as Greg Sargent noted last month, Republicans have in fact gotten their way on a long list of agenda items, from winding down the stimulus to extending the Bush tax cuts for the so-called job creators to starving the beast of government with cutbacks in spending.

Now we've got 14 million Americans out of work, enough to keep the Occupy Wall Street protests going and growing everywhere if they want. Nearly half those 14 million people have been out of work for at last 27 weeks. How desperate do you think they are?

Above, the Calculated Risk chart that shows you where we are in historic terms (scary). After the jump, a deeper look at the numbers, including why even 103,000 new jobs is only halfway enough.

Tucked inside the report is a little good news, or at least better news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics revised the numbers from July upward, now saying we added 127,000 instead of 85,000. In August, when the BLS first said we'd added no jobs at all, it now looks like we added 57,000.

Even if you take the 103,000 jobs gained in September at face value, you have to realize that it wouldn't be enough to change the overall picture. America needs to add about 150,000 jobs a month just to keep up with population growth. If you ignore the Verizon bump and if we didn't have government layoffs, we'd almost have gotten there this month. Since we lost 8 million jobs in the Great Recession, we need to be adding more like 200,000 in order to gain any ground at all.

Below, a chart from Kevin Drum of Mother Jones last month, factoring in the growth we need.

Jobs report: Millions of desperate Americans