The national unemployment rate ticked up one-tenth of a percentage point to 9.2 percent in June, after a steady upward trend rising 0.4 percent since March. On top of this month's lackluster report, the 54,000 job gain announced in May was revised down to just 25,000.
Most private-sector industries saw nominal but positive growth in June, including business and professional services, healthcare, mining, hospitality and leisure and manufacturing. However, government employment figures continued to decline with a loss of 39,000 jobs, including a decrease of 19,000 federal jobs.
These slowing employment figures come after optimistic spring reports that included gains averaging more than 200,000 jobs per month for the months of February, March and April.
Josh McWhorter, founder and president of Black Oak Asset Management, commented on the recent reports of a slowing recovery.
"From a cyclical standpoint, the economy is getting better. It's just happening very, very slowly, and with all the money that's been pumped in, I still think inflation is going to be as bad, if not worse, than what we've seen from an economic standpoint up until this date," McWhorter said.
One factor in the recovery process is hesitancy for investment by corporations, many of which are at this time stockpiling cash reserves due to uncertainty. McWhorter sees that uncertainty focused on tax issues, healthcare and other items presently before the federal government.
"Historically, with low interest rates and the environment we're in, this is typically a time you see a lot of companies invest, but I think due, really, to the uncertainty with taxes and where they'll be and healthcare -- regardless of whether it's right or wrong ... There's just so much uncertainty, corporations are not willing to make moves," McWhorter said. "Until we see some clarity of where we're going to be tax-wise and healthcare-wise in the near term, people are just going to hold onto what they have. And that's why unemployment has stayed so high because corporations aren't willing to hire because the labor force is the largest cost when it comes to a corporate balance sheet."
U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Ga., addressed those issues in a statement Friday following the jobs report announcement.
"Today's disappointing unemployment report is another unfortunate indicator that spending and regulation do not create jobs and improve the economy; rather, they stifle it. It is all the more reason why it is so important for the government to step out of the way of small businesses and job creators, reduce government regulation and not threaten to raise taxes during this unstable time," stated Gingrey.
Adding to the uncertainty of domestic policy is the rising turbulence in the eurozone amid an escalating financial crisis. Riots in debt-laden Greece have spurred concern in surrounding countries, including Italy, causing the euro to fall against the dollar.
McWhorter points to the American markets for assurance at home that a recovery is underway. Remembering the March 9, 2009, trough, he noted that the stock market has since gained more than 100 percent.
"I thought it would be a slow recovery and that's exactly what we're seeing. I don't know what the catalyst will be, but eventually, all the money that's been pumped into the economy, in some form or some fashion, will get released and trickle down. Whether that happens at the end of this year or next year or even beyond, that waits to be seen," McWhorter said. "I'd love to say that by Christmas this year, we'll be at 5 percent unemployment and things will be rosy, but I just don't see it happening."