No way up:

Uncertainty lingers as jobless rate levels out

Uncertainty lingers as jobless rate levels out
Even though the unemployment rate – at 6.1 percent – changed little in August, a wariness plagues the American workplace. 

     Citing declining print ads, Gannett Co. Inc. on Sept. 3 laid off 60 to 70 workers from its flagship USA Today. Turner Broadcasting System in August announced a strategic plan that could result in layoffs. The CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment reportedly sent a memo to staff warning of impending cuts. In New Jersey, hundreds of casino workers filed for unemployment as gambling operations in neighboring states snagged business from Atlantic City. And throughout the country, fast-food workers took to the streets to decry poverty-level wages.
     The Great Recession may be over, but an unease lingers. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report for August was unspectacular in every possible way. Employment increased by 142,000 jobs, compared with an average monthly gain of 212,000 during the past year.
     Professional and business services added 47,000 jobs, the report said. Employment in health care increased by 34,000 jobs. Construction companies added 20,000 jobs.
     Retail trade employment was down by 8,000 jobs. The Labor Department said food and beverage stores lost 17,000 jobs and “this industry was impacted by employment disruptions at a grocery store chain in New England.”
     This refers to the controversy that erupted when Market Basket, a private grocery chain, ousted a beloved CEO. Employees protested and thousands lost their jobs before the matter was resolved and the CEO returned.
     But it was also true that automobile dealers added 5,000 jobs.
     Statistics tracked by the Bureau of Labor Statistics include the number of “long-term unemployed” – those jobless for 27 weeks or more.This is an important statistic -- the number of long-term jobless workers account for 31.2 percent of the unemployed. In August, that number declined by 192,000. This continues a heartening trend. During the past year, the number of long-term unemployed has shrunk by 1.3 million. An estimated 3 million Americans remain in this category.
     An additional 7.3 million Americans are in a category known as “involuntary part-time.” That means they are working part time because their hours were cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.        


     The job slog: Some still struggling to find work

     Employment grows in the heat of summer

     Unemployment picture flattens at 6.3 percent