Jobs Report Brings Pain and Blame

Job seekers say Washington should do more, but where are employers?

July 09, 2011, 1:24 PM

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2011— -- With the latest jobs report showing that the economy gained only 18,000 jobs in June, while 200,000 people joined the unemployment lines, politicians, economists and job seekers are feeling the pain of the slow economy.

One economist, who said she expected stronger jobs growth in June, said the news took the wind out of her sails.

"I felt it in my gut," Mesirow Financial chief economist Diane Swonk said. "It was absolutely an incredible disappointment. This is a stage in the game where we should be seeing jobs picking up at 200,000 pace."

But perhaps no one is feeling the pain of the bad job numbers more than the job seekers themselves.

Joe Viola, 56, has been looking for full-time job for four years but said he has only been able to find temporary positions.

"I feel like mostly that I can just get dead-end jobs that can take me a few months and then I'm out of work again," he said.

In his opinion, he said, politicians bear much of the responsibility for the economic hard times and that Washington should do more to create jobs.

While Washington is one factor in the slow growth, another part of the explanation for people in Viola's situation has to do with employers who say they are afraid to hire in the environment of slow job growth.

"I don't think I want to expand my business when I see that," said John Hellings, who owns two clothing stores in New York. "I see no growth in employment."

As job seekers and business owners are discouraged by the report, many politicians in Washington took to the podium to decry the slow growth.

President Obama said the economy isn't producing as many jobs as are needed and called on Congress to seek compromise on issues like the debt ceiling and deficit, saying in his weekly address "the last thing we can afford is the usual partisan game-playing in Washington."

Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers Austan Goolsbee echoed the president's call for action in an interview with ABC News.

"There's a lot of things we disagree on, but there are quite a few major things that there is bipartisan agreement on and we ought to pass those things and stop bickering," he said.

Some of the issues the administration has pointed to as issues that Congress can address as it remains at a standstill on the debt ceiling and deficit are infrastructure spending, extending the payroll tax cut and approving trade agreements.

But for the job seekers standing in line to apply for jobs and shake hands at job fairs, the calls for political action don't mean much unless they translate into real jobs.

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