Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 6, 2011

PRIVATE-SECTOR JOB MARKET IMPROVES, REACHES FIVE-YEAR HIGH.... 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 April, the overall economy added 244,000 jobs, but 24,000 Americans working in the public sector left the workforce, as state and local governments continued to cut spending. The private sector, however, added 268,000 jobs, marking the 14th consecutive month of private-sector growth.

More important that the streak, however, is the data. The 268,000 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 268,000 private-sector jobs were created is actually quite strong regardless of context.

Indeed, looking at the chart below, it's worth emphasizing that April's private-sector numbers were the single best Americans have seen since the Great Recession began in 2007. What's more, the combined data from February and March shows easily the best three-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 (11)

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But, but, Bush was the bestest, jobiest Preznit EVAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: c u n d gulag on May 6, 2011 at 9:15 AM | PERMALINK

CNN is reporting that this was the best private sector growth since Feb. '06. Steve, is there any chance you could expand your chart to go back to the start of '06?

Posted by: Daryl P Cobranchi on May 6, 2011 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

How many filing for unemployment are teachers and other public employees given pink slips by their Republican governments?

Posted by: jjm on May 6, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

The corporate sector , or poor mouth Investment Banking , reports a ring dang doo in the bonus column . The recent roil in the speculative markets is lowering Brent crude a bit . It is the lull before , or this just another dyspeptic eye roll before a righteous reaming to be named later ?

Posted by: FRP on May 6, 2011 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

jjm - Yes, yes, yes. State governments are in collusion with national GOP/TP to create UNemployment, not employment. They feel that's their ticked to political gain.

Posted by: T2 on May 6, 2011 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Steve I have two "wish" items for this great chart.

1) could you extend it back further so the red/blue transition is in the middle?

2) could you also give an extrapolation to a "balance" point, i.e. at what point is the integral from Jan 09 until balance-month equal or greater than zero?


Posted by: Dennis on May 6, 2011 at 11:19 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't the table show an equal number of months for both Presidents?

Posted by: Gary Caplan on May 6, 2011 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Could you do a graph which has private and public sector jobs as separate bars? It would be useful to send to Republicans who insist there are more job gains in the public sector.

Posted by: ee on May 6, 2011 at 11:55 AM | PERMALINK

could you label your x-axis next time? Pretty basic graphing....

Posted by: educated_liberal on May 6, 2011 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

X-axis label please. Also going back sounds like a great idea. Thanks for the chart.

Posted by: noprotein on May 6, 2011 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Thanks, Steve.
PS: I posted just the article link to my FB page (readers here can try to guess me out and add if they want to try, for a hint I'm a personal FBF of Steve B and Alan Colmes), and this time - first I remember - the image from the specific piece came up instead of some generic muck. Thanks, webmaster/s please keep this up.

Posted by: neil b on May 6, 2011 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK
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