Unemployment: Jobless Rate Rises
Unemployment: Jobless Rate Rises, The United States added a scant 69,000 jobs in May and the unemployment rate rose for the first time in almost a year, the government said Friday in a report spelling more trouble for President Barack Obama’s reelection.
The dramatically weak numbers signaled the much hoped-for recovery in the job market has stalled, but they fueled new speculation that the Federal Reserve will step in with a fresh round of stimulus for the economy.
The jobs gain was the smallest since May 2011, when 54,000 jobs were added, and less than half of what*n*lysts had forecast.
The jobless rate ticked up to 8.2 percent, against expectations that it would hold steady at April’s 8.1 percent. It was the first rise since June 2011, when it climbed to 9.1 percent from 9.0 percent.
“There are no easy explanations for May; the numbers suggest a far weaker economy than do other recent data,” said Sophia Koropeckyj at Moody’s Analytics.
“The numbers do not bode well for the president’s reelection,” she added.
The data came just five months ahead of the November 6 presidential election amid a campaign dominated by concerns about the slow, fragile recovery.
The world’s largest economy slowed from an annual growth rate of 3.0 percent in the final quarter of 2011 to a 1.9 percent pace in the first quarter, too weak a pace to dent unemployment.
Obama argues that his Democratic administration pulled the economy back from the brink of another Great Depression after the 2008 Wall Street financial meltdown.
But Republican foe Mitt Romney has hammered the administration on the economy, pointing to stubbornly high unemployment and insisting his small-government approach will rev up growth and crank out new jobs.
The bad jobs numbers will focus even more attention than usual on Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to Congress Thursday on the economic outlook, for clues to a shift toward more stimulus. (AFP)