There were at least some hints that boosted optimism in advance of this morning's jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Just yesterday, the ADP payroll data exceeded expectations, and we saw an encouraging dip in jobless claims. Economists projected job gains in June of about 100,000, and that looked like a reasonable, if modest, expectation.
We didn't get there. For the third consecutive month, job totals were disappointing, with the U.S. economy creating only 80,000 jobs in June. The unemployment stayed the same, stuck at 8.2%.
As is nearly always the case, there was a gap in the public vs. private sectors -- American businesses added 84,000 jobs last month, while the government shed 4,000 jobs. In terms of revisions, April's totals were revised down a little, while May's totals were up a little.
Yes, we can take some solace in the fact that the job market is not deteriorating -- June's totals were slightly better than May's, which were slightly better than April's -- but that's cold comfort given the larger context. Creating 80,000 jobs a month isn't even enough to keep up with population growth, and certainly won't reduce unemployment in a hurry.
And while it's tempting to think policymakers in Washington would see data like this and act immediately, taking bold steps to boost job creation, the fact remains this not an option given Republican power in Congress.
I'd also note for context that, so far in 2012, the economy has created over 950,000 private-sector jobs, which is underwhelming, but is already better than five of the eight years of the Bush/Cheney era.
And with that, here's the chart I run on the first Friday of every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.
Update: Here's another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.