Job Creation Positive, But Tepid

The ADP National Employment Report, which always comes ahead of the U.S. Department of Commerce's employment numbers and doesn't always jibe with them, noted on Wednesday that nonfarm private employment increased 13,000 from May to June 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis.

July 1, 2010
By Dees Stribling, Contributing Editor

Courtesy Flickr Creative Commons user Seabarmirum

The ADP National Employment Report, which always comes ahead of the U.S. Department of Commerce’s employment numbers and doesn’t always jibe with them, noted on Wednesday that nonfarm private employment increased 13,000 from May to June 2010 on a seasonally adjusted basis. That falls in the “better than nothing” category or, more precisely, better than losing jobs, but only marginally better.

The U.S. Census Bureau isn’t generally hiring any more temporary workers, so the labor figures published on Friday won’t have that boost; it’s up to the private sector now. According to ADP, June’s rise in private employment was the fifth consecutive monthly gain. But over these five months the increases have averaged only a slender 34,000.

Construction jobs continued to disappear, according to ADP, which said that employment in that industry dropped by 35,000 in June. On the other hand, manufacturing, which has seen a surprisingly robust year so far, added 16,000 jobs. Other jobs were added in the service sector to make the total positive.

The Recession Has Hit Hard: Pew Survey

Such employment numbers hardly seem enough to even begin to repair the damage that began in early 2008. According to the Pew Research Center’s Social and Demographic Trends Project, in survey results released Wednesday, more than half of those surveyed–fully 55 percent–say that their own employment has suffered in one way or another in the last 30 months. That is, they’ve been unemployed, or experienced a cut in pay, or suffered a reduction in hours, or have become involuntary part-time workers.

Other aspects of the survey, which polled nearly 3,000 adults in May, found that more than half (54 percent) say that the recession is still on, while only 3 percent say that it’s over. Slightly fewer (48 percent) say that they’re now in worse financial shape than before the Great Recession, while 21 percent say they are in better shape. Among those who say their finances took it on chin, 63 percent say it will take at least three years to recover.

Perhaps more importantly for the longer-term (take note, retailers), 31 percent of the respondents said that, even after the recession is over, they plan to spend less than they did before the recession began. Only 12 percent say they plan to spend more, while a majority plan no increases or decreases.

Chicago OKs Second Walmart

After a fair amount of Chicago-style political wrangling, the Chicago City Council approved a second Walmart within the city on Wednesday. The location will be on the South Side in the Pullman district, former home of the Pullman railcar works but in more recent decades an area in need of jobs. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. promises to bring some jobs as well as Always Low Prices, Always, though union officials have grumbled that the retailer plans to pay Always Low Wages, Always.

According to published reports, which Wal-Mart won’t confirm or deny, the company will pay new workers $8.75 an hour, with raises of at least 40 cents after a certain period. As of Thursday, minimum wage in Illinois is $8.25 an hour.

Wall Street had a bumpy day on Wednesday but was mostly in positive territory until near the end of trading, when it dipped negative, though not as much as on Tuesday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 96.28 points, or 0.98 percent, while the S&P 500 lost 1.01 percent and the Nasdaq declined 1.21 percent.

Wednesday also marked the end of the second quarter of 2010. During that period, the Dow lost 10.39 percent; the S&P 500 lost 12.15 percent; and the Nasdaq declined 12.5 percent.