Tonawanda News

Today's Top Stories

August 4, 2012

Glass half full?

Economy generates 163K jobs in sign of resilience

(Continued)

Tonawanda News —

A broader measure of weakness in the job market deteriorated in July: The proportion of Americans who were either unemployed, working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time work or too discouraged to look for work rose to 15 percent from 14.9 percent in June.

Nearly 5.2 million Americans have been out of work for six months or more.

Eric Kosmack has applied for about 450 jobs since he graduated in January 2011 from Montclair State University in New Jersey. He is looking for a job in accounting to put his mathematics degree to work. He has had three temporary jobs since then, including one that ended Tuesday, but no luck in his search for a permanent one.

And many of the jobs he has seen described as “entry level” still ask for one to three years of experience, which he doesn’t have. “I understand that they want to find the perfect candidate, but it seems like a long process,” he said.

Those lucky enough to have jobs aren’t seeing their spending power grow. Over the past year, wages have increased 1.7 percent — just matching the rate of inflation.

“The glass half full is that this report should ease fears that we’re slipping into recession,” said Michael Feroli, an economist JPMorgan Chase Bank. “The glass half empty is that the labor market generally still stinks when thinking about things that matter for people’s well-being, like wage growth.”

Government cutbacks continued to weigh heavily on the job market. The economy lost 9,000 government jobs last month and 660,000 over the past two years.

Private companies have picked up part of the slack. In fact, private payrolls are higher now than they were when Obama took office in January 2009.

In July, private sector job gains were broad-based. Manufacturing added 25,000 jobs, the most since March. Restaurants and bars added 29,000. Temporary help services added 14,100 jobs. Retailers hired 7,000 more workers. Education and health services gained 38,000.

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