Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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September 3, 2010

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH.... In the last post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, with the chart we've all come to know and love. But many of you have emailed to suggest it's time for a slightly different chart -- one showing just the private sector job market.

It's a fair request. Because of the Census Bureau jobs, the total jobs chart is skewed a bit -- some months, such as May 2010, look better than they should, because the monthly total is exaggerated by hundreds of thousands of Census jobs. Other months, such as June 2010, are distorted in the other direction, looking worse than they should.

Since so many have begun skipping right past the topline number to look specifically at the private sector, it stands to reason that this chart would be of greater value.

All told, the economy has added 763,000 private-sector jobs in 2010. For comparison purposes, note that the economy lost nearly 4.7 million private-sector jobs in 2009, and lost 3.8 million in 2008.

With that in mind, here it is, a different homemade chart, showing monthly job losses/gains in the private sector since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction -- red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration.


Steve Benen 9:40 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (14)

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Echoing what gaga94 said so eloquently above...

You deserve credit for being both responsive to your readers and choosing a nice shade of blue.

Posted by: Vermonter on September 3, 2010 at 10:14 AM | PERMALINK


You are changing the rules of the game.
Why don't you print the same chart you have printed every month for a long time?

Answer: Because it doesn't look as pretty as the chart you decided to use.

I guess facts don't really matter to you. The only thing that matters is trying to prove your point.

Why not show BOTH charts? The way you used to do it and this new way?????

Posted by: neil wilson on September 3, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK


I am sorry. I guess I better get a cup of coffee before I post a comment.


You are completely correct and I am completely wrong.

And not for the first time.

Sorry for the last post.

Posted by: neil wilson on September 3, 2010 at 10:28 AM | PERMALINK

Is the third comments t sarcasm or what...? Was there a response to the one before it? Even though I'm strongly rooting for blue bars, I would also like to see the distinction on one chart with stacked bars. However, the old chart should be continued since it is valued for its long term set. Please publish both.

Posted by: Jim on September 3, 2010 at 11:05 AM | PERMALINK

I was under the impression that Steve changed the type of chart he was printing to make things look better. I didn't realize the second chart was in ADDITION to the normal chart from the previous post.
There is no way I can delete the comment so, when I realized I was wrong, tried to say that I was wrong.
I am glad he posted the normal chart and it is helpful to have posted the private sector job chart too.
I was wrong in thinking he skipped the normal chart for the private sector chart.

Posted by: neil wilson on September 3, 2010 at 11:08 AM | PERMALINK

At least jobs are being created. It is time for the Obama administration to go bold and bring to Congress a combination of payroll tax holiday for businesses that hire, research & development money, more tax cuts for small businesses, and the most important thing is a NATIONAL INFRASTRUCTURE BANK.

Then the Obama administration should DARE Republicans to vote against it.

Posted by: Maritiza on September 3, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

The emphasis on the census, which is huge over four months, is distracting from the insidious cuts in state and local positions that are bleeding public sector jobs every month. Until states have enough to start rehiring that numbers will be depressed.

And if the Republicans win in state and local races, there will be no rehiring until 2013 and not much even then as the "stave the beast" types insist on "self reliance."

Posted by: OKDem on September 3, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

The American middle class has been on life support since Reagan - nothing will get fixed until prosperity is shared more widely as Robert Reich puts it in today's Times.

Posted by: Ohioan on September 3, 2010 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

It would also be interesting to see the bars shaded for which party controlled congress, as they also have a large role to play, and the mid-terms are coming before the presidential election. You might need to extend the x-axis a little, though.

Posted by: Jay on September 3, 2010 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

Charts like this need to be behind Robert Gibbs at every White House Press briefing! Repubs are always saying jobs-jobs-jobs, well this will help American People see jobs-jobs-jobs and what will happen come November if they vote Republican.

Posted by: rachel on September 3, 2010 at 3:06 PM | PERMALINK

Uh, did anyone here realize that the Democrats controlled Congress from 2006 on?? And, isnt Congress the Legislative body? What exactly could the President do that would have created jobs????

Posted by: Jim on September 4, 2010 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

So, when you add in the BLS birth-death model fudge factor of +115,000 for Aug we are only in the hole to the tune of -48,000. With that in mind how can anyone state that the guesstimates of BLS job creation are set in stone as they are always revised when the real numbers are ascertained in subsequent months. To state that 763,000 jobs have been created is an outright lie. The fact is that the true number could vary up or down. Since the trend is decidedly down and it will take a minimum of +150,000 just to break even. We are still losing jobs everyday on a net basis due to the kakistocracy currently in power.

I know we can forget that the percentage of civilian workforce unemployed has steadily risen since BO and Joe took over. When coloring the bars on your graph don't forget to highlight the periods where spending (congress) was controlled by the DIMS.

Also factor in that the markets all said OH NO - Not BO and JOE!!! starting in June of 08 as Hilary was side stepped and McCain was shown to be the boob that he is.

Posted by: gloria winters on September 8, 2010 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Jim, If the president can't do anything about jobs why is everyone blaming Obama?

And there are steps the president can take, like stimulus programs.

Posted by: Kev on September 24, 2010 at 8:27 AM | PERMALINK

Actually there's not much government can do if people are dumbed down into calling all government hiring (ala the great depression) Socialism.

The real question is how can the government squeeze private business into hiring again when they've gotten workers so scared they're producing record productivity and profits for business owners. Where's the incentive? Corporate Patriotism? HA!

Posted by: Kev on September 24, 2010 at 8:32 AM | PERMALINK



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