Brandeis Dean, and former Chief Economist at the US Dept. of Labor, Lisa Lynch interviewed on PBS NewsHour on disappointing May job numbers released by the BLS June 3. This report is another indication of the excruciatingly slow pace of job recovery from the recession. Only 54,000 jobs were added in May; 83,000 in the private sector but 29,000 lost in the public sector. The three month moving average of job growth in the private sector between February-April was 244,000 so job creation came to a screeching halt in May. With 14 million unemployed we need 250,000-300,000 net new jobs added to the economy every month to have any hope of bringing down the unemployment rate to its pre-recession value of 5 percent in the next four years. May's rate does not keep pace with the growth of the working age population. As state and local government job losses accelerate with the withdrawal of aid from the federal government this summer, job losses in the public sector will only worsen. It is hard to understand how the political consensus on the need for more jobs is served by cutting back support for teachers, firefighters, police, social service and public works employees. To reduce support for the unemployed when there are more than 4 workers for every every job vacancy will only increase economic hardship, slow consumption, and stall the recovery. It is clear that short term fiscal and monetary stimulus is still needed to ensure this slowdown does not become a contraction.
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