Mixed Unemployment Report

The BLS reported this morning that the unemployment rate fell slightly, to 5.9%, and the number of jobs in the US increased by 57,000, which was less than most economists had expected. Job creation is better than job destruction, which is what we’ve mostly seen over the past couple of years, but it was still a rather disappointing report. Taking a look at the graph puts it in context.

The US economy has recovered from the worst part of the downturn in employment that we experienced during the spring and summer of 2003. Put another way, the labor market has almost (but not quite) clawed its way back to where it was throughout most of 2002. Unfortunately, the third quarter boom in the economy may well already be petering out.