U.S. Economy Now Using Numbers to Convince You It’s Stuck

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Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Nothing like starting Labor Day weekend with the news that the U.S. economy didn't add a single job in August. That's what the unemployment numbers released today say, and they're worse than analysts anticipated. The unemployment rate is still 9.1 percent, and the non-farm payroll tally showed no movement on the job front — every job added was set off by a job lost. Six million people have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks.

We're used to calling the economy stalled, crippled, etc., to suggest how mired it is. We make it out to be an invalid, stuck in bed, watching the world (or, in this case, just Brazil, Russia, India, and China) go by. But failing economies are actually quite dynamic — just dynamic in the wrong direction. So, if we use up all those static terms when the economy is in decline, what word do we use today, when it's actually, empirically, quantifiably not going anywhere? It certainly can't be zen.

The Dow is down over 200 points to start the day. Maybe because of this, maybe because of the many other pieces of bad news.

U.S. Economy Shows No Job Growth [WSJ]