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Tilting at Windmills

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March 4, 2011

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH STARTS TO FLOURISH.... In the previous post, we talked about the new monthly jobs report, but in keeping with tradition, here's a slightly different chart -- one showing just the private sector job market.

In January, while the public sector lost 30,000 jobs -- the consequence of significant spending cuts -- the private sector added 222,000 jobs. Given revised data for 2010, this is the 12th consecutive month of private-sector growth.

More importantly, though, we're starting to see some real momentum. February's totals weren't just an improvement on recent reports, the new data shows that February was the best month in nearly a year, and the second-best private-sector job totals since the start of the recession in 2007.

It is, in other words, encouraging. As we talked about earlier, the kind of robust job growth we'd need to bring the unemployment rate down in a hurry would require even stronger employment numbers, but given the hole we've been in, what we're looking for are significant steps in the right direction. That's exactly the news we received today.

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.


Steve Benen 9:10 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (15)

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It's interesting to look at the two charts together--you can see how the peak of the stimulus coincided with strong private sector growth, followed by a collapse in government jobs and a corresponding trough in private-sector job creation. Basically what you would expect from a Keynesian point of view, and the opposite of the results the government-spending-kills-jobs philosophy would predict.

Posted by: Jim Naureckas on March 4, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

While this is good news, I wish I saw more urgency on the QUALITY of these jobs....how many of them are people (like me in 2007) who were laid off, and subsequently found a job- but at a much reduced salary...

While unemployment may be trending down, how is the UNDERemployment of too many workers looking?

I fear that the trend of American workers' salary and wages is down.....permanently.

Posted by: marty on March 4, 2011 at 9:23 AM | PERMALINK

This is all Obama's fault. Somehow.

Posted by: impik on March 4, 2011 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

As someone who has been in the market looking for a job I don't see it. Every employer I have interviewed with told me that they were caught in a deluge of resumes in amounts that were equal or more than when we were in the "depths" of the recession. As more and more people drop off of the unemployment rolls the numbers will appear to get better but in reality those of us caught in long term unemployment go from being merely a statistic to not being counted at all.

Posted by: doyles on March 4, 2011 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

But Al Gore is fat.

The only jobs the GOP cares about are CEO jobs and lobbying jobs after they retire from Congress.

Posted by: Mudge on March 4, 2011 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

That's not even close to "flourishing". The pace of job creation still puts us many years away from full employment, and most of the jobs are far worse than the ones that were lost.

Posted by: Steve LaBonne on March 4, 2011 at 9:38 AM | PERMALINK

The Republicans have their work cut out for them. Time is not on their side as they try to figure out how to wreck the economy to prevent the President's re-election.

Posted by: max on March 4, 2011 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

One of the Key ideas for regaining total power for the GOTP is keeping unemployment higher than 9%. They gambled heavily on this happening due to a couple plans of theirs.....kill any attempt by Dems/Obama to provide jobs through Stimulus or any form of Jobs Plan, and secondly to actually put in place legislation that directly results in people losing their jobs and becoming unemployed.
It appears they will lose on that first plan as the economy slowly pulls out of the deep hole the Republican Bush Administration dug (intentionally or not). But this whole "Cut the Deficit" scam is having real progress on the State level in killing jobs across the nation. Just remember this: If a Republican blames a Dem for "Job Killing laws" it really means that the Republican's intend to create "Job Killing laws". It's always opposites with them.

Posted by: T2 on March 4, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

When you publish charts of this type please include a link to the data.

Posted by: TravisInTexas on March 4, 2011 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

Great chart; thanks for pointing this out. I highlighted it at my blog as well:


Posted by: ApeMan1976 on March 4, 2011 at 10:20 AM | PERMALINK

These charts are instructive in showing when the major job losses occurred. Having said that, I hope everybody is aware that the color-coding (i.e. Red for Bush term and Blue for Obama is essentially meaningless).

Republicans love to give Obama too much blame for the deficit. For example, they blame Obama for the 2009 budget deficits even though 2009 was Bush's last budget.

Similarly, Democrats love to give Obama too much credit for the initial post-inaugural job growth.

The reality is that it generally takes time for a new President's policies to be felt throughout the economy. And while the 2009 stimulus bill obviously had some positive effects, there simply wasn't enough immediate spending contained in the bill to have been the substantial cause of the shift in job-loss trends.

That isn't to say that the economic policies that caused the massive job losses in '08 and '09 can't be laid at the feet of Bush, the GOP Congress, and the ConservaDems. Just that the chart suggests a correlation between Obama's inauguration and reduced job losses that is misleading.

Posted by: square1 on March 4, 2011 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK


Thank you!
Thank you!
Thank you!

This chart re: private sector MUST get wide circulation in the weeks, months ahead!!!!!!


Posted by: SteveADor on March 4, 2011 at 11:04 AM | PERMALINK

To those w/o a job like myself-

Please recognize that there is a truly epic tug of war going on in the politics our nation and individual states.

Our best hope lies in a 2nd term for BO, and looong coattails in 2012.

Things WILL NOT get better under a national Rethug admin, or any state's Rethug admin, so a chart like this re: private sector is vital SHOW the nation that the trend is for the better.


Posted by: SteveADor on March 4, 2011 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

That's "flourish" No, that's spin. It'll likely get adjusted down as usual. Gallup shows no change of unemployment. Lets get real.

Posted by: nicejackie on March 4, 2011 at 12:12 PM | PERMALINK

@nicejackie: Right, deny the data if you don't like the results. Brilliant rhetorical strategy; good governing strategy: not so much.

Posted by: demosthenes2012 on March 5, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK



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