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Returning from Hawaii. (Photo/WWR)

Friday, July 2, 2010

West Wing Report, July 2, 2010

June Unemployment: Mixed Bag

The June unemployment rate fell to 9.5% from May's 9.7%; on the surface that looks good. But the drop was driven largely by 652,000 Americans dropping out of the job market. Private-sector jobs grew by 83,000, but because census workers are now being laid off, total payrolls declined by 125,000.

The broader U6 measure of unemployment, which many analysts say better reflects the U.S. labor market, ticked down to 16.5% from May's 16.6%.

Slicing the data still further, June unemployment rates were: Men: 9.9%; Women: 7.8%; Whites: 8.6%; Blacks 15.4%; Hispanics: 12.4%, Teens 25.7%l Asians (unadjusted): 7.7% The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27+ weeks) was 6.8 million, or 45.5% of of unemployed persons, the government says.

The bottom line: the June report shows continued weakness in the labor market. It's a big worry for the White House, which now admits its concerned about a double-dip recession. But unemployment is, as they say on Wall Street, a lagging economic indicator.

President Obama is trying to win the Friday news cycle by announcing 66 more stimulus projects, that will create an estimated 5,000 jobs. They’re all broadband projects: the administration wants to bring high-speed internet to parts of the country that don’t have it now.

Services for Senator Byrd

The President and Vice-President this Morning head to West Virginia for a memorial service for Senator Robert Byrd. Obama will say how much Byrd helped him when he was a junior Senator from Illinois. Biden’s story is the eloquent one. He’ll talk about how Byrd was there for him during the darkest days of Biden’s life: Right after Biden was first elected to the Senate in 1972, his wife and daughter were killed by a drunk driver. Biden hadn’t even been sworn in yet, but Byrd came to the funeral, and, as Biden recalls, stood with him in the pouring freezing rain.

After the memorial service, President Obama and his family head to Camp David. They'll return to the White House Sunday evening – to catch the 4th of July fireworks.

- Paul Brandus at the White House

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