The jobs number report was released this morning in Washington, underscoring the continued weakness of US labor markets. The net result: zero jobs were added during the month of August, keeping the national unemployment rate at 9.1%. A nationwide strike by Verizon Wireless workers kept 45,000 workers off the payrolls, and had it not been for this number, that number of jobs would have been considered to have been added to the economy. But the strike was settled too late for the figure to have actually elevated employment levels.
As I wrote yesterday, the 2012 presidential election is upon us, and the central theme of the campaign is going to be jobs. Followed by jobs, and then more jobs. I anticipate that economic growth will pick up slightly in the coming months, but, honestly, not by enough to make enough of a dent in the unemployment rate for it to come down to below the 8% that the White House would like to have heading into the election. So, time will tell. And along with time, the innate unpredictability of politics is going to have to be the weapons upon which Obama will have to rely.