The economy added 163,000 jobs in July, a improvement from three months of dismal job growth but not enough to lower the unemployment rate, which in fact rose a tenth of a point to 8.3 percent.
The jobs number isn’t a sign the economy is turning around or that happy days are here again. It may be a sign the economy is not about to fall off a cliff, and it’s certainly positive news for the labor force. But last month’s jobs growth is only about what is needed to stay even with population growth – it won’t lower unemployment.
The rise in unemployment may actually be a good sign, suggesting that some workers have returned to the labor market to look for work because they thing conditions are a bit better. They would now be counted as part of the labor force but still unemployed, resulting in a slight increase in the unemployment rate.
The White House is sure to tout this number as the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – actually the third if they count Obama himself – and bellow that the economy is turning around and there’s no need for this Romney guy.
But unless this is followed by successive months of much higher numbers and improvements in a host of economic indicators that suggest a slothful economy, today’s report is mostly meaningless.
Obama will deliver remarks at 11:45 am at the White House. Carney is currently not scheduled to brief, a sign that the White House wants the only message to be Obama’s own.