Economy and Jobs Watch: Sluggish Growth Continues

by Guest Blogger, 9/7/2004

Employment growth continues to be below average. In August, the number of new jobs added was just 144,000, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). This is the third straight month that the data has been below its historical average -- over the last 30 years, the economy has added about 150,000 per month.

During the Bush term, there have only been 4 months in which employment growth has been above this average threshold. By contrast, looking over the 6 previous 4-year terms, administrations have averaged 30 months of employment growth per term above the 150,000 mark. (See Labor Day article this issue.)

In addition, the BLS also announced that the unemployment rate fell one tenth of a percentage point to 5.4 percent, primarily because of a decline in the labor force -- of the 174,000 decline in unemployed workers, 152,000 was due to workers leaving the labor force. This continues the trend of declining employment and declining labor force participation, which began in early 2001.

These signs continue to point to a weak labor market and the continuing failure of current policy to address the macroeconomic situation.