Garrett Harris 10:11 p.m., May 23
May Jobs Growth Anemic, Unemployment Rate Rises
The nation created a mere 54,000 jobs in May as the unemployment rate rose to 9.1% from 9.0% in April. Economists were expecting 175,000 jobs. Stock market futures sank on the news. The average work week was unchanged from April and temporary hiring -- considered a bellwether -- also did not budge. Some economists noted that the Japanese tsunami disrupted some supply chains, such as in autos, and the tornadoes hurt. The U.S. Labor Department rejected the idea that the tornadoes were a factor. The 54,000 is the smallest gain since September. And the government also pared gains previously reported in March and April. The computer-generated births minus death model, which purports to estimate new businesses that aren't picked up in the conventional survey, added a strong 682,000 jobs -- but again, that's not real data, only an estimate. There is a consensus that the economy has hit another so-called "soft patch" -- the second in a very weak recovery from an extremely steep downturn.