In spite of expectations that 160,000 jobs or more were added in May, the latest jobs report was a shocker showing just 38,000 job gains last month.
CNBC’s Squawk Box panelists reacted live to that surprising Labor Department report on June 3, which showed that employment increased by a mere 38,000, while unemployment fell to 4.7 percent. However, low labor force participation continues to be a major economic problem.
The May jobs gains were the lowest since September 2010, when 54,000 jobs were lost and the media still spun the report as a “mixed picture.” Ahead of the report, Squawk Box analysts’ predicted gains ranging from 145,000 to 190,000, and were shocked by the actual number and struggled to explain how it could be so far from off from expectations.
“Ten more months of this, ten more months of 37,000 and we’ll be under 3 percent unemployment!” said CNBC On-Air Editor Rick Santelli as he interrupted to his co-workers’ attempts to explain the surprising report.
Santelli continued, “This totally summarizes the disconnect between good jobs, the jobs number, the unemployment rate and what motivates the Fed and its dual pillars [promoting maximum employment and price stability]."
During his rant, Santelli directed a jab at Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez, saying, “I'm sure we'll get [Obama’s Labor Secretary] Mr. Perez out here. I am sure he won't brag about the 4.7 percent. But I don’t understand why not because this stencil has been in place for quite a long time.”
Santelli was referring to the way the administration has touted a dropping unemployment rate, even when it didn’t necessarily mean good news for the labor market. The media have also spent years spinning jobs reports for the Obama administration.
Along with the May number, the Labor Department also reported downward revisions of job gains for the previous two months, showing employment numbers were 186,000 in March (not 208,000), and 123,000 in April (not 160,000).