The June jobs report is out and the bottom line: it could've been worse. After a terrible May report and lots of anxiety over weak data over the past month, most investors were relieved that the report wasn't a total bust-out.
Unfortunately, we lost 125,000 jobs, which is the first monthly loss this year. Blame Uncle Sam--there were 225,000 census layoffs. The private sector pitched in by hiring 83,000 workers, according to the Labor Department, helping stave off what could have been a more damaging report. Still, private sector employment has slowed. The three-month average is now 119,000, compared to 154,000 from February to April.
Lest you console yourself with the drop in unemployment rate from 9.7 percent to 9.5 percent, I might remind you that the reduction has more to do with people throwing in the towel on their job searches than real improvement.
Another sobering thought: the U.S. economy needs to add something in the neighborhood of 125,000 jobs each month just to keep pace with new entrants to the work force and analysts believe that it will take a bunch of 250,000+ jobs a month to really put a dent in the unemployment rate. We're a long way from that pace of job creation.
Here are the highlights from the June jobs report:
June Jobs: -125,000
May Jobs: +433,000 (revised up from 431,000)
April: +313,000 (revised up from +290K)
Census jobs: -225,000
Private Sector: +83,000 (100,000)
Unemployment rate: 9.5%
Under-employment rate: 16.5%
Long-term unemployment rate (greater than 27 weeks): 6.8M, or 45.5 percent of unemployed
Avg. work week: 34.1 hours (drop from 34.2)
Avg. hourly earnings: $22.53 (down from $22.57 and first drop since February)
Construction: -22,000 (makes sense after recent rotten housing data)
Temporary hiring: +21,000 (up 379,000 since September 2009)
Health care hiring: +9,000
Adding to the problem of long-term unemployment, there's a concern that the gap between skilled and unskilled workers is widening. Skill level is usually linked to education.
Here's the unemployment rate based on education level:
Less than high school degree: 14.1 percent
H.S. degree: 10.8 percent
Some College or Associates degree: 8.2 percent
College Degree or Higher: 4.4 percent
Jill Schlesinger is the Editor-at-Large for CBS MoneyWatch.com. Prior to the launch of MoneyWatch, she was the Chief Investment Officer for an independent investment advisory firm. In her infancy, she was an options trader on the Commodities Exchange of New York.