Weekend News & Commentary — August 6-7, 2016

The July jobs report came out Friday, smashing expectations — 255,000 new jobs were added — and quelling fears that job growth is slowing.  July’s strong numbers might also give Democrats something to boast about in the presidential race, as The New York Times suggests.  However, some commentators remain skeptical.  Fortune points out that the number of long-term unemployed — that is, those who have been out of work for 27 weeks or more — actually rose in July, climbing to more than 2 million total.

Meanwhile, the presidential race continues to heat up.  Trade remains one of the hottest topics on the campaign trail, with both candidates promising to make changes to current trade agreements.  The New York Times‘ editorial board weighs in on the debate, warning that overly protectionist policies — such as increasing tariffs or withdrawing from trade agreements — might hurt the job market more than it will help.

Another hot topic this election season (and a related one) is the decline in American manufacturing.  The New Yorker tries to unpack the strong American attachment to manufacturing, suggesting that concerns over its decline might have more to do with nostalgia — nostalgia for “real work” — than lost jobs.

And lastly, Professor Joseph McCartin (writing for the Washington Post) considers what’s at stake for labor in the upcoming election, arguing that — given the broad divergence in labor policy between the two candidates — a Clinton presidency will be crucial to the future success of unions.