Political Animal


December 07, 2012 9:24 AM The Jobs Report No One Will Notice

By Ed Kilgore

It’s the first Friday of the month. For much of the last two years, that was a political red-letter day, as writers and gabbers everywhere gathered virtually at 8:30 AM Eastern Time to receive and over-analyze the Monthly Jobs Report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Today I nearly forgot about it altogether until I saw a brief reference on Twitter. The report itself is superficially the kind of good news for the president that would have created enormous excitement in the chattering classes had it occurred before November 6: jobs are up 146,000, which is about double what most economists had expected, and even more significantly for political types, the unemployment rate (the one BLS statistic most regular people know about) dropped from 7.9% to 7.7%.

Look a little deeper and the report is not so unambiguously positive: the gains BLS reported in September and (especially) October have been revised downward. But like the relative stability of the stock market, it certainly does nothing to undercut the slow but steady increase in the president’s post-election public standing he’s been enjoying.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on December 07, 2012 9:43 AM:

    I suspect that a lot of those are temporary jobs for the Holidays.

  • Jeff on December 07, 2012 9:48 AM:

    That strong downward revision in the October jobs numbers that were released the Friday before the election totally PROVES that the BLS Truthers were RIGHT!

  • Mitt's Magic Underpants on December 07, 2012 10:02 AM:

    Yeah, I'm sure Jeff is right -- I imagine the wingnuts are going ape over this.

  • exlibra on December 07, 2012 12:10 PM:

    gulag, my understanding is that these are seasonally adjusted numbers, not raw overall ones. At least that's what yesterday's Business section of the NYTimes said, in anticipation of today's results.

  • sceptic on December 08, 2012 8:13 AM:

    I am glad that the unemployment rate is down and I am glad that it is at its lowest rate in 4 years but I am really really glad that I don't have to listen to the GOP telling me that it is the inevitiable result of electing Mitt and the magic of the confidence fairy.