Political Animal


July 08, 2011 9:20 AM Private-sector job creation deteriorating, too

By Steve Benen

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.

Overall, the U.S. economy added a terrible 18,000 jobs in June, but as has been the case for a long while, there was a major gap between the public and private sectors. Businesses added 57,000 jobs in May, while 39,000 jobs were lost in the public sector at the same time, thanks to budget cuts at the state and local level.

Those are, by the way, budget cuts Republicans are desperate to bring to the federal level.

The new numbers are the weakest in over a year, and further evidence that the economy is in desperate need of a boost. It can’t get that boost, of course, because congressional Republicans refuse to consider anything other than austerity measures, which necessarily make unemployment worse.

Making matters slightly worse, the private-sector totals for April and May were also revised in the wrong direction.

And with that, here’s 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. (The chart is now smaller to fit the redesigned website.)

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.


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  • Alli on July 08, 2011 9:28 AM:

    you know what Steve, now that the jobs numbers are bad enough to really hurt Obama, watch the media and Congress get to talking about it again. That's how shit works around these parts. If it hurts Obama it leads.

  • Davis X. Machina on July 08, 2011 9:37 AM:

    In this political climate, no one's going to shed a tear about the loss of 500,000 overcompensated, unaccountable, pension-hunting civil service drones.

    This is America. If I don't get to have a union, or health care, or a defined-benefit pension, or protection against arbitrary dismissal, or any of the things many if not most public service employees have, then you don't either. If I'm out of work, you have to lose your job, too.

    If he had had an ounce of political sense, Christie could have waltzed -- waltzed -- into the White House as 'the hard hittin' general we need to manage America's new war -- the war on public employees'.

    Somebody with actual political savvy is going to figure out how to turn crab-bucket syndrome into political gold.

    Hard times make people mean. And enough of them were mean already to serve as the base of a major political party.

  • bignose on July 08, 2011 9:38 AM:

    The Democrats MUST get out ahead of this, message-wise. Emphasize the Do-nothing House, deliberate economic sabotage...

  • sjw on July 08, 2011 9:48 AM:

    And how will Obama's press secretary spin this? A mixture of faux tears (the results were disappointing), bullshit (we expect it will get better), and passivity (we hope it will get better).

    Yep, building a strong case for Obama's reelection day by day.

  • Chris at UW Milwaukee on July 08, 2011 9:52 AM:


    What date does this graph start with?

  • AL on July 08, 2011 9:58 AM:

    This is to all liberals whinning about Obama being a DINO (and who most likely stayed home on 2010 elections):


    You don't sit out an election (cut off your nose to spite your face), you PRIMARY CHALLENGE!!!

    That's what the Tea Party did and even if it shrank the GOP's ranks, guess who's ruling Congress now, and even the Senate even without a mayority?

    The GOP sure is reading Mein Kamp on this: "a united minority trumps a disorganized mayority anyday", perfect example is Hitler's big speech in 1921 I think where his handfull of rabid brown shirts secured him from a crowd of communists bent on disrupting his speech. The GOP is doing the same to the Dems, and winning.

    Don't sit 2012 out, primary challenge Obama and everyone else who is a DINO, better to have a trusted few than a unreliable many.

  • c u n d gulag on July 08, 2011 10:00 AM:

    You and I agree - if it's bad for Obama, it'll be all over the news.

    And they'll ask every Republican withing shoutind distance for his/her opinion.

    But NO Democrats - we can't thave them on to change the 'it's all Obama's fault' narrative by pointing out who the REAL culprits are, now can we?

  • foghorn on July 08, 2011 10:08 AM:

    The real culprits are certainly known. But what about BO. Is he a culprit too? Speaking for Obama's White House Thursday, "Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner reportedly revealed that he believed the administration did not have the constitutional authority under the 14th Amendment to simply ignore the debt ceiling and continue borrowing money."
    WTF. What kind of negotiation is this?

  • Steve LaBonne on July 08, 2011 10:23 AM:

    WTF. What kind of negotiation is this?

    The kind conducted by a "Democratic" White House which believes in Republican policies but needs a ginned-up crisis to provide the necessary political cover.

  • OKDem on July 08, 2011 10:24 AM:

    The local tax collections are starting to inch up. Even with the Rethugs of Oklahoma desperately approving another reduction in our pathetically low income tax rate, the sales and oil taxes are more than making up the slack. Other than the most insane states like Maine or New Jersey [compared to OK, OMG!], most states are going to naturally grow revenue in the next year.

    The largest number of jobs in government are teachers and they are the group that the vast majority want hire, idiot-logical rants from Davis X. Machina being a vanishingly small pathology. Also notice that many teachers were "laid off" who will be rehired in the next school year.

    My guess is the August and September numbers will look surprisingly strong.

  • Reality Bites on July 08, 2011 11:03 AM:

    I've got the very same problem with this graph as the last. With the lack of date disclosure on the x-axis, it appears you a cherry picking the data. Steve, show a year or two and more I bet you'll the net figures between the red colors and the blue colors look quite similar.

    Nice try, though.

  • fillphil on July 08, 2011 11:10 AM:

    What's so sad in reading this is that , like other, situations the Repubs always seem to be in control of everything. The message, the legislation and the perception that they have Obama by the cohones. The real question is- What does the Public really think?
    Unless the Dems get their back up it ain't gonna change. They always seem to "react" rather than "act".
    Maybe they do have Obama by the cohones.

  • mr. irony on July 08, 2011 11:52 AM:


    numerous gop governors slashing budgets


    cutting government jobs

    doesn't create jobs?

    go figure..

  • Jeff on July 08, 2011 12:13 PM:

    For so many years we heard Boehner, Cantor and the GOP call out the Dems when they were in control asking: "Where are the jobs?"

    What concrete legislation has the Republican-controlled house put forth?

    Follow One Man Roaring on Twitter: http://twitter.com/omroaring

  • Jason on July 08, 2011 1:14 PM:

    I would like to see where the "Stimulus" fits on this timeline, as well as the extension of the Bush tax cuts. The GOP mantra seems to be that "tax cuts" spur job growth. Well, I suspect the stimulus will plot about where the red to blue transition occurs (which makes sense) and will be followed by a distinct uptick in jobs. Where as, the bush tax cut extension will plot somewhere near the tallest blue line (about sixth from the left) and will be followed by a moderate decline in jobs. Until the GOP can provide compelling evidence illustrating their position, I'll B.S. on their statements. Increased corporate incomes goes to (primarily) to the top of that food-chain - not to the middle class.

  • Jay on July 08, 2011 1:23 PM:

    As always, you choose to present a skewed chart by color coding according to administration. Once again, I request that you consider color coding by which party controlled Congress, as Congress manages the "purse-strings".

  • Anonymous on July 09, 2011 12:40 AM:

    Jay, here's a chart I found on a forum in Reno.

    http : / / i1095.photobucket.com/albums/i469/UppityProle/govrevexp1.png

    It has the old version of this chart in one corner with the dates and also has jobs, government revenue and spending and deficits going back to 2000. It puts the cherry picking into context.

  • Carmelita obregon on July 09, 2011 2:47 AM:

    Could u show us your citations //. Or sources for ur charts pls ?!

    I missed them in the article

  • Anonymous on July 09, 2011 2:04 PM:

    Show the sources? You're kidding, right? You can find the data to construct charts like this on www.bls.gov. But this article is all about showing that Bush sucked, Obama is Lord. Giving you more info will not serve that purpose. The less you know, the better Obama looks.