Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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December 3, 2010

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH.... In the previous post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, but following up on the tradition we started a couple of months ago, many of you have emailed to suggest it's time for a slightly different chart -- one showing just the private sector job market.

For much of 2010, this was important because of the sharp differences we've seen between the private and public sectors. Most notably, the rise and fall of Census Bureau jobs can offer a skewed picture -- 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.

But that period is largely over, and last month, both sectors were awful -- the economy added 50,000 private-sector jobs in November, far below expectations. It was the 11th consecutive month of private-sector growth, but that really shouldn't make anyone feel better -- November's figure was the worst monthly total since January.

All told, the economy has added 1.17 million 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 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. (Note: the chart reflects revised totals from August and September, per data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

privatejobs_ nov10.jpg

Steve Benen 9:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (5)

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This is a big damn deal. November is the month shops line up extra help for the Christmas season. Apparently they didn't feel the need this year.

Posted by: Ron Byers on December 3, 2010 at 9:21 AM | PERMALINK

Something that really bothers me is this idea that the recovery here would be like any ordinary one coming out of business-cycle recession. But we know this recession is different, driven by a financial panic that is much harder to come out of. How were real-estate prices going to stabilize let alone grow? How would consumer debt be erased when incomes are flat or falling? Because we keep blurring those distinctions, the Republicans have been free to play their voodoo card. And it means the angry voter will feel even more emboldened to blame Democrats for a structural failure in the economy that has nothing to do with spending.

Posted by: walt on December 3, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

This is troubling. Sucks for people out of work, and on a purely political scale, means Obama could be on his way to a one-term presidency if things don't turn around and quick.

Posted by: NHCt on December 3, 2010 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

Obama is a one-term wonder. The economy is going to continue to stink. Republicans are just going to make it worse, and Obama won't put forward a program of his own. It's too bad that leadership is a job requirement for the presidency. Except for that, he'd be great.

Posted by: Steve on December 3, 2010 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

Perhaps you should show another line on this graph: that of the size of the labor force. It is important to remember that unemployment will increase even if we add jobs, if the employable population is growing faster. We can't just add some jobs; we need to add enough.

Posted by: Kate on December 3, 2010 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK
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