Friday :: Dec 3, 2004

Where Are The Jobs Bush Promised?

by Steve

Yesterday, the Labor Department reported a noticeable uptick in first-time filings for unemployment insurance last week, heading towards 350,000. I held off posting on this, as I noticed the cheerleader comments of several of the “analysts” and economists that the AP and Reuters consulted, which indicated that these numbers still showed that the job-producing capability of this economy was actually reinforced by an increase of nearly 25,000 in weekly filings for unemployment.

"I would never overemphasize one week's numbers, I would look at a four-week average, but I see these initial claims figures being right on target with substantial new job creation," said Ken Mayland, president of Clearview Economics LLC, in Pepper Pike, Ohio.

Remember that phrase "substantial new job creation" when evaluating Mr. Mayland's credibility from here on out. In fact, the AP story said that experts felt that when the November jobs figures came out today, it would show that the economy had generated upwards of 180,000 jobs last month, as if that itself was a good number when in fact Bush’s “experts” had claimed that passage of his tax bills would lead to monthly job gains of well over 300,000.

So imagine my lack of surprise this morning when I see that not only did the November job numbers fail to reach the Bush claimed monthly jobs number of at least 300,000 if their tax cuts were passed, but they barely reached half of what the experts said they would just yesterday.

A surprisingly soft 112,000 new U.S. jobs were created in November, the Labor Department said on Friday, casting a shadow across an already downbeat holiday sales season with consumers apparently worried by scarce work and high oil prices.

The November figure -- the weakest since July -- came in well below Wall Street economists' forecasts for 180,000 new jobs, though the unemployment rate eased to 5.4 percent from 5.5 percent in October.

In a further sign the labor market is improving only slowly, the Labor Department lowered its estimates for job growth in both September and October.

October's gain was marked down to 303,000 from an originally reported 337,000-job increase. The department cut September's total to 119,000 from 139,000.

And yet the White House has lowered the bar once again, saying any job growth is good, even if it is hundreds of thousands below each month what they claimed would occur if their tax cuts were implemented.

White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "The fact is that jobs have been created for 15 straight months. There was stronger than expected growth in October. The economy is continuing to grow stronger with more than 2 million jobs created this year. The president's economic policies are working."

McClellan of course glosses over the fact that the October number was revised downward today. But also note that manufacturing lost jobs in November, and the retail sector saw a reduction of 17,000 jobs last month in advance of the holiday season shopping, no doubt spurred by anticipated slowing of retail sales this season.

Now of course the GOP and its supporters will say that personal income and spending were up in October, even if it was offset by higher food and energy costs. But this means that things are great for those with good jobs and money, and for the middle and lower classes, things are still not improving three years into Bush’s recovery. And as the Economic Policy Institute says, today's report is definitely a mixed bag for an economy that hasn't moved the unemployment rate below where it was three years ago, and has hurdles to overcome early next year.

Steve :: 9:49 AM :: Comments (25) :: Digg It!