Another discouraging month on the jobs front

After the sixth consecutive month of job losses, McCain and Obama offer competing visions.

Published July 3, 2008 2:01PM (EDT)

The latest employment figures were released Thursday morning, and the news was less than encouraging.

Employers cut payrolls by 62,000 in June, the sixth straight month of nationwide job losses, underscoring the economy's fragile state ... Heavy job losses in construction, manufacturing and financial services, along with cutbacks in retailing, eclipsed job gains in education and health services, leisure and hospitality, and government.

Job losses in both April and May turned out to be considerably deeper than had been thought. Payrolls dropped by 67,000 in April, versus the 28,000 previously reported. And, losses in May came to 62,000, rather than the 49,000 initially estimated.

So far this year, the economy has lost a total of 438,000 jobs, an average of 73,000 a month.

The McCain campaign quickly issued a press statement after the release of the data, arguing that we should be careful not to stray from the economic agenda of the last eight years. Complaining about the prospect of tax increases, regulation and tighter controls on trade, McCain said, "The American people cannot afford an economic agenda that will take our country in the wrong direction and cost jobs."

Shortly thereafter, the Obama campaign issued a statement of its own: "Our economy has now shed 438,000 jobs over the past six months, while workers' wages fail to keep pace with the skyrocketing cost of gas, groceries and healthcare. The American people are paying the price for the failed economic policies of the past eight years, and we can't afford four more years of more of the same. That is the essential issue of this campaign because Senator McCain has fully embraced the Bush economic agenda. I believe it has to change."

By Steve Benen

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