From the Wall Street Journal:
The recession may be over on Wall Street and Silicon Valley, but on Working Family Avenue it still has a ways to run. That's the lesson of yesterday's August jobs report that showed losses of 216,000, which believe it or not is the slowest monthly decline in a year and caused the White House to praise with the faint damn that the "trajectory is in the right direction." That's the good news.
On the other hand, the jobless rate popped up to 9.7%, the highest rate in 26 years, from 9.4%, reflecting an increase in the size of the labor force. The main concern we see going forward is the slow pace of new job creation to soak up the 7.4 million workers who have lost jobs since 2007.
There are now 26 million Americans who can't find a full-time job. Average weekly hours remained at an abysmally low 33.1—which is putting a strain on family budgets. And the jobless rate including so-called discouraged workers, or those who have stopped looking, leapt to 16.8% from 16.3% in July. Meanwhile, the number of Americans working part-time who want full-time work increased by 278,000 to 9.1 million, which as a share of the workforce is larger than at any time since the recession of 1982. These are the workers that employers will tend to hire first as a recovery unfolds, so it is worrisome that this cohort remains so large.
None of this does much for the credibility of the Obama Administration's stimulus spending plan, which was sold with the promise of a jobless rate this year of "below 8%" if the stimulus were passed. That was off by some three million jobs in a mere seven months. The same economists who fretted in February that $780 billion in stimulus was too small now claim that the $300 billion or so that has been spent has somehow ignited the recovery.