Jobs situation unchanged in August, unemployment remains 9.1%
The nation's unemployment rate remained unchanged at 9.1% in August, with 14 million Americans still unemployed, according to government data. The nation also failed to add new jobs with payrolls static from July, the Labor Department said Friday. Housing economists track unemployment data since ongoing joblessness continues to stall the housing recovery. Analysts with Econoday wrote, "Apparently, the recent federal debt ceiling debate fiasco and stock market spooked businesses to put a hold on hiring. Payroll jobs were unchanged in August, following a revised 85,000 increase in July, and revised 20,000 in June." The health care industry continued to be an outlier by adding jobs, while information services payrolls fell last month due to the strike by 45,000 Verizon (VZ) employees. Government employment also declined in August. Even accounting for the strike, "the stagnation in U.S. payroll employment is an ominous sign," said Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics. "The monthly gain in payrolls has now been below 100,000 for four consecutive months." Unemployment rates for adult men and women held at 8.9% and 8%, respectively, while unemployment for teenagers hit 25.4%. The number of long-term employed – those out of work for 27 weeks or more – remained unchanged at 6 million and accounted for nearly 43% of the nation's unemployed. Econoday said the report is bad news for the economy and places more emphasis on the importance of President Barack Obama's plan for job creation and whether the Federal Reserve will engage in a third round of quantitative easing. Having zero job growth in August puts "the odds of a recession in the coming year at a coin toss," said Doug Duncan Fannie Mae's chief economist. He added, "the weakening labor market backdrop and eroding consumer confidence casts a shadow over the housing market." Duncan hinted to what would be contained in Fannie's August National Housing Survey, saying the number of consumers who remain negative about the economy has grown. "Moreover, more of them expect deeper declines in home prices over the next year," he said. Write to: Kerri Panchuk.