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Tilting at Windmills

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April 1, 2011

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB GROWTH LOOKS STRONG, EXCEEDS EXPECTATIONS.... 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 March, the overall economy added 216,000 jobs, but 14,000 Americans working in the public sector left the workforce, as state and local governments continued to cut spending. The private sector, however, added 230,000 jobs, marking the 13th consecutive month of private-sector growth.

More important that the streak, however, is the data. The 230,000 total not only beat expectations, it's a genuinely good number. We're accustomed to dealing with relative encouragement -- results that are only heartening because of the larger, awful context. But a month in which 230,000 private-sector jobs were created is actually quite strong regardless of context.

Indeed, looking at the chart below, it's worth emphasizing that March's private-sector numbers were the second best since the Great Recession began in 2007, second only to February of this year. The combined data from February and March is easily the best two-month stretch in the last five years.

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 (18)

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Don't worry. As soon as the republicans get their cuts through Congress they'll turn this recovery right around.

Posted by: wvng on April 1, 2011 at 9:19 AM | PERMALINK

The US economy suffered a MAJOR heart attack under the Republican rule. It received some major CPR and intensive care under the Democrats. It's up and walking around now. Of course,Rethugs are complaining its not running marathons and they want the chance to kill it again.

Posted by: Darsan54 on April 1, 2011 at 9:20 AM | PERMALINK

Anyone with access to Dem staffers?

Can they print out the chart onto the backs of teashirts and wear they around Congress one day with the header Obama recovery.

Posted by: mikefromArlington on April 1, 2011 at 9:22 AM | PERMALINK

I LOVE that idea!!!

And then, after the JOB KILLING budget passes, they can keep track of those numbers, too.

Hopefully people will see that the only Republicans want is power.
Anything else out there is either to increase power, or maintain it.

Only power counts - not anyhing to help the public.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on April 1, 2011 at 9:27 AM | PERMALINK

Let's see if this makes the MSM and if so whether they even bother to interview Democrats.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 1, 2011 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

For the sake of symmetry, to compare to pre-recession levels and for intellectual integrity, it is time to extend the Bush data back another year.

Posted by: SW on April 1, 2011 at 9:32 AM | PERMALINK

gee....from this chart it makes it look like Bush/Daniels created this whole mess and Obama has got it on the right track to getting fixed.
This is obviously a Nazi Muslim chart.

Posted by: T2 on April 1, 2011 at 9:40 AM | PERMALINK


Agreed. This would be especially valuable to see, in view of the fact that the Bush tax cuts were supposedly intended to create jobs--yet for Bush's 8 years, hiring remained essentially flat. In the past calendar year alone, more jobs have been added than in the entirety of Bush's two terms.

No more blaming the previous administration. Now it's time to actively compare them (on job creation, at least).

Posted by: John B. on April 1, 2011 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

It's terrifying that this is genuinely good news.

If we continue at this rate (and the GOP has promised to make sure we won't) we will have made up the jobs lost in the Bush recession by 2025.

Posted by: paul on April 1, 2011 at 9:42 AM | PERMALINK

Now get the Dems to reference this chart. Carry it with them at all times for interviews and constantly rhetorically ask, Do Republicans want to experiment at a time like now with draconian cuts while we're experiencing a strong recovery?

Posted by: mikefromArlington on April 1, 2011 at 9:44 AM | PERMALINK

I wish you all would stop talking about jobs; it's very distracting...

Posted by: Judy Biggert on April 1, 2011 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

My sister was rehired last month by her employer, who let her go in 2008 when the meltdown occurred, so it's more than a detached graphic to me.

Posted by: Varecia on April 1, 2011 at 10:02 AM | PERMALINK

"Can they print out the chart onto the backs of teashirts and wear they around Congress one day with the header Obama recovery."
Posted by: mikefromArlington on April 1, 2011 at 9:22 AM

Of course, that would require the assumption that they want Democrats to win back a majority of the House, and/or that they believe the prosperity of middle- and working-class Americans is a desirable end in and of itself.
What in the world would make you believe either of those is true?
Especially when their actions of the last several years (at least) make it seem more likely that neither of them is?

Posted by: smartalek on April 1, 2011 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

Please - someone get on the ball with that T shirt idea!
On another note, I received a particularly nasty email yesterday - pretending to be from the London Daily Telegraph (of course the paper is The Daily Telegraph) with all kinds of nasty things being said about Obama- I am an original Brit so I know this article did not sound like that newspaper - I followed links which led me to right wing websites, also I went online and found nothing like the article, or even the writer in the Telegraph archives- so look for it, it may be coming your way and is 100% lies.

Posted by: j on April 1, 2011 at 10:07 AM | PERMALINK

I would suspect the improved job picture will tranlate into better deficit numbers. Any idea how much?

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 1, 2011 at 10:13 AM | PERMALINK


While I don't want to overestimate the importance of one number, or even the size of that number, it's interesting to note that in the 96 months George W. Bush was President, the economy only reached that figure 9 times and not once in the last 33 months of his Administration. EVEN if one adjusts for the smaller civilian, non-institutional population, that number only rises to 11 months with STILL none in the final 33 months.

Just for comparison, the population adjusted figure for Clinton's two terms is 69 months (how fitting).


Posted by: Bob on April 1, 2011 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

Green Shoots!

Posted by: Hoppy on April 1, 2011 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

I find it odd that no one has pointed out that the losses under Bush increased when the democrats took control of the House and Senate.

Posted by: sakred on April 1, 2011 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK



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