Unemployment numbers declined slightly in August, dropping from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, but with modest job growth and tens of thousands of discouraged workers, the job report may not be good news for President Obama.
According to the Labor Department, the U.S. gained 96,000 jobs last month, and is averaging fewer jobs gained a month in 2012 than in 2011. Employment primarily increased in food services and drinking places, professional and technical services, and in health care.
The unemployment rate was bolstered somewhat by marginally attached workers, who are not counted in the unemployment numbers because they have not searched for work in four weeks at the time of the survey. The total number of marginally attached workers is up from July, though unadjusted August numbers show fewer discouraged workers in August versus July. Discouraged workers are those not searching for jobs because they don't think they can find one. All other marginally attached workers are presently not job hunting due to school attendance or family reasons, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Though job growth was better in 2011, there were also fewer discouraged workers in August 2012 versus August 2011.
Republicans are expected to pounce on the jobs report, while Obama is hoping voters will remain patient, an appeal he made in his nomination acceptance speech Thursday night, where he acknowledged that the economy was still struggling and could take years to fully repair.
The jobs report could also negate any convention bounce Obama may have received.