9:57 am Aug. 3, 2012
Mayor Michael Bloomberg said today's higher unemployment numbers aren't so bad, if they hold.
"When it goes up for a little while, that generally is people coming back into the market saying, 'Oh, there might be jobs,'" said the mayor, during his regular Friday morning appearance on the John Gambling Show. "'I want to go get a job, a second job in the house or whatever.' If it keeps going up, it's not good."
According to the U.S. Labor Department, employers hired 163,000 people in July, but the unemployment rate also rose, by one-tenth of a point to 8.3 percent. Both the rise in employment and the rise in the unemployment rate exceeded expectations.
The unemployment rate, it should be noted, only measures people actively seeking work. So if, over an extended period of time, you've given up on finding a job, you don't get counted.
Today's numbers can be read in a number of ways.
"Republicans and Democrats are likely to seize on Friday's numbers—they offer the strongest hiring as well as the highest unemployment rate since February," said today's Wall Street Journal.
Bloomberg, who himself presides over a city with both rising job numbers and a rising unemployment rate, put a relatively positive spin on the numbers.
"Well the unemployment going up is probably good news," he said. "I mean everybody wonders why it is. But the unemployment rate, it's a funny number. It's done by a telephone survey, rather than actual numbers. It's a guesstimate. It's a small sample."
At root, said Bloomberg, is the market's lack of confidence.
"When you see the federal government basically not working, which has been happening—not the president's fault, nor would I give him a pass and say he couldn't have done more. Everybody coulda done more, you, me and everybody else," he said. "But this unwillingness to face any issue, unwillingness to ever cut anything..."
More by this author:
- Bloomberg doesn't remember threatening a taxi kingpin
- Bloomberg, dancing around Weiner, says the next mayor should have 'good character'