And the Recovery That Never Was Continues to Sputter Along

U.S. employers added only 96,000 jobs last month, more evidence of just how anemic the so called economic recovery has been. The news has the potential to derail the president’s bid for reelection but will most likely matter little to his most ardent followers.

Many of the jobs were in lower-paying industries such as retail, which added 6,100 jobs, and hotels, restaurants and other leisure industries, which gained 34,000. Higher-paying manufacturing jobs fell by 15,000, the most in two years.

The unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent from 8.3 percent in July, but that’s only because more people gave up looking for jobs. People are only counted as unemployed if they are actively looking for a job.

The economy has added just 139,000 jobs a month since the start of the year, below 2011’s average of 153,000, while 41,000 fewer jobs were created in July and June than first estimated.

Hourly pay fell, manufacturers cut the most jobs in two years and the number of people in the work force dropped to its lowest level in 31 years.

The sluggish figures make the Federal Reserve more likely to unveil a new bond-buying program at its meeting next week to try to lift the economy, said John Silvia, chief economist at Wells Fargo. The goal of the bond purchases would be to lower long-term interest rates to encourage borrowing and spending.

“This weak jobs report is going to feed into their argument that the economy is growing at a sub-par pace,” Silvia said.

No president since Franklin D. Roosevelt during the Great Depression has been re-elected with a jobless rate over 8 percent.

 

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