New Jobs Numbers Are Weaker Than They Look

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There is nothing in the June jobs numbers, released Thursday morning, that signals economic catastrophe. But the closer you look, the more reason there is to feel just a little glum.

The nation added 223,000 jobs last month, which is a perfectly good number. The unemployment rate fell to 5.3 percent, from 5.5 percent, the lowest since April 2008, when the Great Recession was a mere infant. If you look only at the big glaring headline numbers, in other words, these numbers are somewhere between good and great.

The disappointments come in the finer details. This report is the opposite of a dark cloud with a silver lining. It’s a billowy white cloud hiding some more ominous hints of where the economy stands, in particular reversing some hints of progress that had been evident in May numbers.

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