Economists And Wall Street Cheer Good Jobs Report While GOP Whines That It’s Not Good Enough
As the frenzy of fireworks gives way to the day-after, Americans woke up to some especially patriotic good news: job numbers are up. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION — JUNE 2013: Total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 195,000 in June, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.6 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment rose in leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, retail trade, health care, and financial activities. [Emphasis added.]
While the not-as-good news is that unemployment, which was expected to drop, has not; the let’s-look-at-the-bright-side-news is that it didn’t go any higher. In fact, Wall Street analysts, who’ve been eagerly waiting the report, hopeful that good news might spark an “easing back” of the Federal Reserves’ stimulus response, focused on the jobs increase, which was in excess of their expectations and a suggestion of healthier growth. From the New York Times:
Experts on Wall Street had been expecting the economy to add 165,000 jobs in June, so the better-than-expected monthly number, along with upward revisions in the number of jobs created in April and May, makes it more likely the Fed will begin stepping back in the coming months. In the first half of 2013, a better indicator than the one-month snapshot, the economy added 202,000 jobs a month, up from the 183,000 monthly pace in 2012.
“The economy continues to show some momentum,” said Michelle Meyer, senior United States economist at Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
Any way you spin it, that’s good news (well… more on that in a second). But why is it “especially patriotic”? Because, at a time when that old black magic called partisan politics continues to flog the notion that Obama’s on the wrong track about this, that and everything, the less-debatable truth is that the American economy is getting better, something every American should cheer despite the distractions of conspiracy theories, ‘scandals,’ and GOP spin.
Wait, we thought this was “unspinnable.” Yes, but remember when I said – a few seconds ago – “more on that in a second”? Stay with me here:
It seems before the virtual ink was dry on the Jobs Report, House Speaker John Boehner was whining on his website that, despite the significant increase in jobs, it was more useful to take the half-empty view… that the news is “tepid.” TEPID. The an increase of almost 200,000 jobs – 30,000 more than expected – is ‘tepid’ because:
- Unemployment is still “far too high.”
- It is Obama’s administration at the helm as the job numbers get better. Obama. Not a Republican.
- Any good news that happens on Obama’s watch is not really all that good.
- Obama is Obama and, hence, good news related to Obama cannot be cheered by Republicans.
- Did I already say “Obama”?
That Boehner is out parsing this as “not good enough” is emblematic of the partisan nit-pickery that has Americans rolling their eyes at a Congress that behaves like tantruming toddlers. But Boehner can’t seem to help himself; after choking out the ‘tepid’ acknowledgement, noting that “there’s some good news in this report,” he goes into full “half-empty” mode from there:
“There’s some good news in this report, but economic growth is still tepid, the unemployment rate is far too high, and the president continues to promote policies that undermine robust job creation. Just look at the last few weeks: the president admits that his health care law is a drag on businesses; he threatens to veto a bill based on his own plan to make paying for college easier, then watches quietly as Senate Democrats let interest rates double; and he makes up new reasons to delay the Keystone pipeline in a speech about imposing a national energy tax. Imagine how many jobs would be created if the president stopped trying to expand government and started working with Republicans on policies that create sustained economic growth and expand opportunity for all Americans.” [Boehner website]
Or, on the other hand, ‘imagine’ Republicans whose pathological focus on limiting women’s reproductive freedoms and the civil rights of the LGBT community, or pushing the theocracy of Christian dogma and the myopia of anti-immigration rhetoric (none of which could possibly be categorized as ‘small government’), were all put aside in lieu of being WILLING to work with the president to further the good of the American people. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Instead, we get – beyond the above – the perpetuation of trickle-down, the myth of ‘job creators,’ and the fantasy of the “growing middle class.” But then, John Boehner and his GOP cohorts have never been ones to tangle too tightly with the truth.
Certainly we need even more jobs, more jobs in higher paying sectors; we need unemployment to fall and we need a more robust relationship with banks and buyers. We need a lot of things; of that there is no doubt. But I have always been one to believe that, rather than focusing on what hasn’t yet been achieved, what isn’t good enough; what doesn’t solve every problem, it’s good for the heart, soul and mind to put attention on what DID go right, what is improving, and the fact that we’re moving in the right direction. Call me an optimist, but I’ll leave this with others who take a less manipulative, less partisan view than folks like Boehner; the more positive and productive Americans who see the Jobs Report in the optimistic light it deserves:
“This was a solid report and it will be seen by the Fed as fully consistent with tapering in September,” said Dean Maki, chief United States economist at Barclays. In addition, Mr. Maki noted, average hourly earnings rose 2.2 percent year-over-year, close to a high for the current recovery. [New York Times]
“While there’s still more work ahead, today’s job numbers are yet another sign that we’re moving forward.” Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) [Twitter]
“The economy has now added private sector jobs for 40 consecutive months, and a total of 7.2 million jobs has been added over that period,” said Alan Krueger, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers. “In spite of monthly volatility, over the past three years the pace of job growth has increased each year. So far this year, 1.23 million private sector jobs have been added.” [First Read.NBC News]
“Investors are beginning to believe that the economy actually may be strong enough to grow without the extreme monetary support,” said Bill Hampel, chief economist at the Credit Union National Association. “When will we finally get back to the day when good news for the economy is taken as good news by the stock market? It’s still early in the day, but it looks like we might finally be there.” [Money.CNN]
“But now for the really good news: We were quite wrong about job gains in April and May. Initial reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a jobs gain of 149,000 in April and 175,000 in May. In the latest reports, those numbers were revised upward to 199,000 in April and 195,000 in May. That’s a combined gain of 70,000 jobs from earlier reports. So, since April, it turns out that the economy has actually gained nearly 200,000 new jobs a month.” [National Journal]
To read the full June 2013 Jobs Report, click HERE.