Jobs News

Ken AshfordEconomy & Jobs & Deficit2 Comments

Well, this should put a sock in the mouths of those who think Obama's stimulus package is just throwing away money and not helping the economy.

The jobs news out this morning was a surprise to everybody.  The most optimistic prediction I saw believed that the report would show 130,000 jobs lost month.

But no…. 11,000.  That's it.  11,000.  So unemployment fell from 10.2 in October to 10.0 in November.  That's the best unemployment numbers since January 2008, when the economy shed 72,000 jobs, and when the recession began.

What's more, past monthly reports were revised upward.  Revisions added 159,000 to payroll figures previously reported for October and September. The October reading was revised to show a 111,000 drop in jobs compared with an initially reported 190,000 decline.

Of course, a 10% unemployment rate is nothing to do handsprings over.  If you’re about to complete your last semester of college, for example, then you’re still looking at a labor market with no net hiring and a huge backlog of unemployed people you need to compete with for skant job openings.

But it is good news for those looking for a turning point.  Steve Benen draws a handy-dandy chart of monthly job losses and directs your attention to the bar on the right.


The White House Blog (yes, that White House) has a similar graph:


It should be noted that Obama came into office at the point where the bars dip down lowest (January 2009).  It's a little bit hard to claim, as Republicans want to do, that Obama is responsible for the bad unemployment figures, when they clearly turn around under his watch.

UPDATE — Mmmmm, maybe the jobs news really did put a sock in the GOP.  Steve Benen notes:

On the first Friday of every month, at 8:30 a.m. (ET), the Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes the monthly job numbers. And on the first Friday of every month, by around 9 a.m., the RNC has a statement blaming President Obama for not having fixed the recession he inherited fast enough. We saw this last month, and the month before that, and the month before that, and the month before that, and so on.

Today, however, the RNC hasn't said a word.