Jobs report: Not negative, not entirely positive

October 7, 2011 5:53:12 PM PDT
Newly-released unemployment figures show America's job crisis isn't getting worse, but it's not getting much better either.

The best thing that can be said about the unemployment report is that it wasn't a terrible one because it didn't give any credibility to the argument that we're sliding closer to a recession.

Around 103,000 new jobs were added in September, better than previous months, yet the unemployment rate still held steady at 9.1 percent.

The reason the September unemployment numbers were better than in previous months was because nearly half of the new jobs came from Verizon. The company re-hired 45,000 workers after they went on strike -- and that still counts as new jobs.

"You wipe that out, and it's even weaker, but again it's not a negative report," said David Callaway with MarketWatch. "Those who have been saying there was a recession know, we're not there yet."

Former labor secretary Robert Reich says this slow job growth has an impact on consumer confidence.

"Americans cannot buy because they are so economically stressed," said former labor secretary Robert Reich. "They've got to save, if they have any money at all. But at the same time, unless they buy, businesses are not going to create new jobs."

Reich, who teaches at UC Berkeley now, says the last resort is for the government to step in and boost the economy. Right now, Congress is battling over President Obama's $447 billion jobs package.

"Rebuilding roads and bridges, and schools and ports, and providing people with the safety net they need so that they can turn around and, in turn, buy things so that businesses can create jobs," Reich said.

Many Americans are frustrated with Congress and its inability to come to a consensus. That's why movements, like the infamous "Occupy Wall Street," are growing.

Activists in New York, San Francisco and other places are protesting what they say is the inequality of the American economy.

Alexandra van Nostrand is a 24-year-old Emory University graduate with a degree in environmental health. She says she can't get a job in her field.

"It's what I wanted to do in college, but there are no opportunities at all," said van Nostrand. "Now I am a glorified babysitter. I take care of a lot of kids and I try to teach them the things that I believe in because you have to support yourself."

Consumer spending represents 70 percent of our economy. Some analysts are optimistic because the holidays are coming, which means retailers will be hiring. Some say we may see better numbers over the next couple of months.

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