Payroll improvement: 144,000 Jobs


The 144,000 jobs added to payrolls in August fell just shy of the 150,000 economists had expected, but the number was heartening since job growth has been so weak and estimates have been so far off base recently. Most economists, while pleased with the accelerated pace of hiring, cautioned that the labor market isn’t out of the danger zone yet. Some reactions to the report:

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“A sigh of relief is the best way to describe the August jobs number. … the economy has begun to fly again, but is having difficulty gaining altitude, pitching and rolling along the path. The jobless rate edged down primarily because 152,000 people dropped out of the labor force, not an encouraging sign.”
— Sung Won Sohn, chief economic officer, Wells Fargo Bank

* * *
“The jobs market has recovered modestly from its June/July slump but still remains relatively anemic.” Job gains “have averaged only 104,000 during the last three months compared to 295,000 during the previous three months. … Until labor markets tighten much more, the growth of hourly earnings will remain sluggish, endangering consumer spending.”
— Steven Wood, chief economist, Insight Economics

* * *
The new employment report “shows that our economy is strong and getting stronger. … Our growing economy is spreading prosperity and opportunity and nothing will hold us back.”
President Bush

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“Economically, after losing jobs, you’re supposed to have ever faster job growth to make up for it. That’s not what we’re getting. We’re getting mediocre, treading-water job growth.”
— Sen. John Kerry, Democratic presidential nominee

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“The labor market will continue to remain tough for both the employed and those persons seeking new jobs. Wages will continue to only grow modestly, more workers will be compelled to accept positions without health benefits, and benefits packages, generally, will continue to deteriorate. … President Bush faces a daunting task persuading voters in critical mid-Western and Southern battleground states that they live in prosperous times.”
— Peter Morici, economist, professor at the University of Maryland

* * *
“As far as employment growth goes, it was okay. Nothing good, but nothing terrible. … For job-seekers, it’s an environment that provides them with some opportunities, but finding jobs is still not going to be that easy yet.”
— Joel Naroff, president, Naroff Economic Advisors

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“We think fears of slowdown have been overdone and the combination of rising hours worked and wages points to nominal gross-domestic-product growth in the neighborhood of 7% in the third quarter.”
— John Ryding, chief market economist, Bear Stearns

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The report “wasn’t exactly what I would call strong or broadly based,” and it wasn’t “weak enough to throw the [Federal Reserve] off course.”
— David Rosenberg, chief economist, Merrill Lynch

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The labor-market recovery is “going to be gradual — it’s not going to be the spike we saw in the dot-com phenomenon. … What we’re seeing now is companies hiring to appropriate levels of business versus getting bloated.”
— Eric Goodstadt, senior executive, Management Recruiters International

Economists Are Encouraged By Pickup in U.S. Job Growth
September 3, 2004 1:54 p.m.,,SB109422616773809363,00.html

U.S. Job Growth Picks Up As Unemployment Rate Falls
September 3, 2004 8:59 a.m.,,SB109421434095009260,00.htm

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  1. Mike commented on Sep 5

    Barry, any idea how many of the 144k were temp or part-time jobs?

    As for the birth/death model, it *only* accounted for 120k of the 144k…

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