U.S. economy shows mixed signs -- adds 163,00 jobs, but unemployment rate rises
It was a mixed bag Friday morning when the latest labor report was released. Jobs were up, but so was unemployment. And both Republicans and Democrats were moving to capitalize politically on the mixed message. One bright point, though, was that manufacturing jobs are growing faster than at any point in almost 30 years.
The U.S. economy produced mixed results in July, adding more results than it has in months, but seeing the unemployment rate tick slightly upward.
According to the monthly labor report released by the U.S. Department of Labor on Friday, there were 163,000 new, nonfarm jobs added to the payrolls in July, as opposed to just 64,000 jobs added in June. But, indicating just how slow the U.S. climb out of recession has been, the unemployment actually rose to 8.3 percent, from 8.2 percent in June.
Individual sectors showed particular strength though. According to The New York Times, the manufacturing sector added 25,000 jobs, continuing a 30-month surge that has seen the manufacturing industry add more jobs than at any period of time since 1985.
On the whole, though, economist Paul Ashworth said numbers like this are about as good as its going to get.
“It’s a lot better than we’d been seeing in the last few months, but it’s still short of the kind of job growth we were seeing at the beginning of this year,” he said.
Both President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican challenger, moved quickly to make political hay out of the report. Romney called the increase in the unemployment rate a "hammer blow to struggling middle class families."
"We've now gone 42 consecutive months with the unemployment rate about eight percent. Middle class Americans deserve better, and I believe America can do better," Romney said, according to The Washington Post.
For his part, Obama touted the American economy's continued emergence from recession, despite an ongoing drag from the economy in Europe. Obama's top economic adviser, Alen Krueger, noted that 4.5 million jobs have been created in the last 29 months.
“While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Krueger said in a statement.
According to the BBC, private employers added about 172,000 jobs, while governments across the country shed 9,000. In order to reduce unemployment, the U.S. economy must add more than 100,000 jobs every month. And at that pace, unemployment would barely budge.
The U.S. stock markets surged on the news, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up nearly 300 in midday trading. The NASDAQ was up about 60 and the S&P 500 had added nearly 30 points.