Good News on Jobs
Today is the first Friday of the month, which means it’s the day the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly figures on jobs and unemployment. Today’s news was unexpectedly good, with the unemployment rate dropping sharply from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. Just to put that into perspective, the unemployment rate during the president’s first full month in office, February 2009, was 8.3% and it’s been above 8 percent ever since.
ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo breaks down today’s news:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that payrolls expanded by 114,000 last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. 873,000 Americans reported having found jobs in September (in the so-called household survey), the most since 1983.
This adds to the total number of jobs created over President Obama’s term; revisions released last week by the BLS showed that Obama is net positivefor jobs since January 2009. Here are some other highlights from the report:
– Labor force grows. The labor force grew by 418,000 people, so the drop in the unemployment rate was not due to people giving up on looking for work.
– Revisions shows stronger summer job growth. The number of jobs created in both July and August were revised up, adding a total of 86,000 jobs.
– Public sector finally stopped shedding jobs. State, local, and federal government finally ended a long period of job contraction, adding 10,000 jobs. Revisions show that the public sector created jobs in both July and August.
– Average hourly earnings rise. Earnings rose 7 cents to $23.58. Average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent over the last year.
Of course, one month’s report does not make for a good economy, but the three-month average for job growth hit 145,000, a sign of a recovering labor market (albeit, one that is recovering slowly). Overall, the economy has added 1.3 million jobs this year.
The unemployment rate would be under 7 percent without public sector jobs cuts, while the American Jobs Act that Republicans filibustered in Congress would have added millions of jobs, according to economists.
Conservatives, in the apparent belief that good news for the American economy means bad news for their prospects in next month’s elections, immediately seized on the news to allege a vast conspiracy of data-rigging at the BLS — a scrupulously non-political entity. This dovetails with the recent right-wing conspiracy theory that America’s pollsters are working in collusion the media to rig the polls in President Obama’s favor in order to depress GOP turnout.
Check out this post by ThinkProgress’ Aviva Shen to see which conservatives are peddling their newest conspiracy theory.
BOTTOM LINE: We have more to do, but today’s jobs news shows that we are on the road to recovery and can’t afford to go back to the same policies that crashed the economy in the first place.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You Might’ve Missed
The women who were invisible at the presidential debate.
Mendacious Mitt’s week: 50 lies and counting.
How Romney’s tax plan could still mean big tax increases for the middle class.
Big Bird showed up at a Romney rally today.
How Obamacare’s birth control mandate will lead to fewer abortions.
Romney’s ridiculous and belated attempt to distance himself from his 47% comments.
Justice Scalia says ruling against abortion rights and LGBT rights are no-brainers for him.
Romney’s sick joke.
Romney’s real Big Bird problem: moms votes.
Obama is in the Green on Job Creation
September Reports brought some unexpected good news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the government agency that tracks all things jobs-related. During a scheduled review of its data, it determined that the economy had added hundreds of thousands more jobs than previously thought.
While getting overly fixated on individual jobs reports is unwise, this finding carries a special significance. This means that President Obama has now replaced all of the jobs lost early in his presidency — 800,000 jobs a month were being lost when he came into office — and is now in overall positive job creation territory. His leadership and policies have created a total of 868,000 new private sector jobs, which makes for 125,000 net new jobs once the loss of state and local government jobs killed by the Republican austerity is figured in.
ThinkProgress’ Pat Garafalo explains:
According to new revisions released today by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 386,000 more jobs between March 2011 and March 2012 than shown by previous estimates. As economist Justin Wolfers noted, this means that President Obama is now net positivefor job creation over his term in office, even taking into account the massive losses in January 2009:
The BLS benchmark revisions means that there has been a net jobs gain since Jan ’09. Romney can no longer talk about job losses under Obama.
— Justin Wolfers (@justinwolfers) September 27, 2012
BLS Benchmark revisions mean that over the year to March 2012, the economy was adding 194k jobs per month, not 162k as previously thought.
— Justin Wolfers (@justinwolfers) September 27, 2012
The Economist’s Greg Ip noted that the revisions mean that Obama’s net job creation number is now 125,000:
Incorporating today’s BLS revision, net payroll growth over Obama’s term would move from -261K to +125K.
— Greg Ip (@greg_ip) September 27, 2012
The new numbers — which are based off of unemployment insurance reports that employers submit to the federal government — show that 453,000 more private sector jobs were created than shown by previous estimates, meaning Obama’s net private sector job creation total is now 868,000. Government jobs, meanwhile, shrank by an additional 67,000.
It’s also worth noting that Obama has already produced more new private sector jobs than his predecessor, George W. Bush. Bush ended both his first and second terms in the hole in terms of private sector job creation. Only significant increases in government employment allowed him to eek out a small overall net gain by the end of his two terms in office.
BOTTOM LINE: Ahead of next week’s critical first presidential debate, today’s news deprives Mitt Romney of one of his most frequently used talking points: that Obama has created no new jobs. While that talking point was always highly misleading at best, it is now a lie by any measure.