Economic Outlook: Many New Jobs, None For You

Congratulations! The economy added 244,000 jobs last month. So how come you don't have one? Because that's not nearly enough. Not even close.

Everyone's excited about today's economic numbers indicating that the economy is adding jobs—221,000 in March, and nearly a quarter-million in April. "The recovery has progressed into the self-propelling stage," one economist told Bloomberg News. "Strong Job Report Shows U.S. Economy Gaining Steam," headlines the New York Times.

Yes, 244,000 jobs is better than none. But unemployment crept up from 8.8 percent to 9 percent—probably because more people were attempting to rejoin the workforce. And guess what? There weren't enough jobs for them. That's because 244,000 new jobs is basically just enough to accommodate the natural growth of the workforce, as opposed to the 5.8 million folks who haven't had a job for the last six months. From the Times:

And while any job creation is a positive, last month's growth was barely enough to absorb people entering the work force in the United States, much less to quickly shrink the unemployment rolls.

"Without acceleration in job growth, the economy is unlikely to achieve the sustainable growth trajectory that is typical of an economy that is supposedly in its second year of recovery and technically has transitioned into expansion," said Steven Ricchiuto, the chief economist for Mizuho Securities USA.

The number of unemployed increased form 13.5 million to 13.7 million in absolute terms, and the underemployment rate, which tracks part-time workers who want full-time jobs, ticked up to 15.9%. Overall, 64.2 percent of adults were either working or looking for work, a figure that has held steady for four months and constitutes the "lowest labor participation rate in a quarter-century."

It's not all bad news, though: "Most corporate earnings have been strong, industrial production has risen, and retail sales increased 8.9 percent on average in April, one of the biggest increases in the last few years." So corporations are making more money, getting more work out of fewer people, and selling you more shit you can't afford. Who needs jobs?

[Photo via Associated Press.]