It’s been a sludgy year for job growth as unemployment rates have remained at a stagnant 8.3% for most of the year, well above the 10-year average and prerecession levels. And the monthly jobs report to be released today isn’t expected to add much cheer.
In July, businesses added 163,000 jobs, but it was not enough to match growing demand for jobs so the unemployment rate was unaffected. Nearly 13 million Americans remained unemployed. In August, job creation did not fare so well. The economy created only 96,000 jobs, but that was enough to slightly drop the jobless rate to 8.1%.
On a more positive note, a few reports have underscored a trend toward steady improvement, which can give credit unions some hope they’ll have members on even better financial footing in the months ahead. Two reports from the U.S. Department of Labor and private firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas indicate that private layoffs are decreasing.
Last week, the week ended Sept. 1, about 365,000 people filed for first time unemployment claims, which is 12,000 fewer people than who filed the week before, according to the Labor Department.
Furthermore, payroll processing company ADP said that private companies added 201,000 jobs in August, up from 173,000 in July. The majority of new jobs were in the service center, the firm said. Just to keep up with a growing population, the economy needs to add about 150,000 jobs per month.
In our 2Q 2012 CUSP, Callahan & Associates’ quarterly report on the credit union industry, we explore several important ways credit unions are helping their local economies. On the jobs front, credit unions are initiating hiring programs, offering loan assistance for laid off workers and sponsoring jobs fairs to connect members to work.
Clearly, even with a few glimmers of good news, credit union efforts to foster healthier employment scenarios will be needed for quite some time.