Political Animal


October 07, 2011 9:20 AM Private-sector hiring shows some improvement

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 103,000 jobs, but as has been the case for a long while, the most noticeable gap is between the public and private sectors. Businesses added 137,000 jobs in September, while 34,000 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 expand, making the jobs landscape worse on purpose, while President Obama’s American Jobs Act seeks to do the opposite.

While 137,000 private-sector jobs is hardly cause for celebration, the totals do offer at least mild hints of progress. The figure exceeded expectations; it was more than triple the previous month’s totals; and it does not point in a recessionary direction. For that matter, the revised private-sector totals from July and August were both revised upwards, which was also encouraging.

Over the last year, the U.S. private sector has now added 1.77 million jobs.

We still need to do much better than this, but given dire predictions about a jobs picture that seemed likely to deteriorate further, it’s at least good to see a slight turnaround in the right direction, even if it was modest.

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.

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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  • Nancy on October 07, 2011 9:33 AM:

    Perhaps its time to add a 3rd chart on the public sector jobs picture. It would be helpful to demonstrate the effects of Republican policy.

  • max on October 07, 2011 9:33 AM:

    And they re-ajusted the August numbers to show +57,000 jobs created instead of the net zero the Republicans have been celebrating.

  • mk3872 on October 07, 2011 9:40 AM:

    @max: +1 ... Romney's gonna have to change his punchline to "President 57,000".

  • nodak on October 07, 2011 9:51 AM:

    And yet MSM and many progressive Dems will still complain because Obama hasn't created enough jobs. I know that it is always going to be part of the Repukes mantra to hate the Dem. President, but I hope Dems start waking up to the fact that this President has accomplished an awful lot under some of the worst economic and political circumstances I can remember. And I sure as hell hope that these whiny Dems know that if they don't get off their whiny butts and vote in the 2012 election they are going to see the eradication of the middle class by a Repuke administration and congrass.

  • Ron Byers on October 07, 2011 10:27 AM:

    nodak, the economy hasn't created enough jobs. We would be in pretty good shape if the economy hadn't been hit as hard as it was during the Great Recession.

    The Great Recession marked a structural change in the economy. Jobs just aren't coming back as fast as they did after past recessions.

  • Vince on October 07, 2011 1:11 PM:

    Nodak (and Steve),

    While adding jobs is certainly better than shedding them, 137k (not counting the loss of public sector jobs) is pathetic and should be nothing to be bragging about. If we were in anything remotely like a recovery, the economy would be adding 200-300k per month. That you get exited about 100k is defining normal down by a huge degree.

    So, as one of your whiny liberals (I'm not a member of the Democratic party), I think that Obama could have done a hell of a lot more than he's done and even currently proposing to help the recovery. He could have done a lot more to reign in Wall Street, starting with frog marching a shit load of bankers off to the hoosegow. He could have managed the HAMP program in a way that could have actually helped home owners instead of letting the bankers run it to their own advantage. There are many other things he could have done along these lines that wouldn't have required congressional approval. Instead, he decided early on to ensure that bankers could continue to screw over the rest of us. Why he did so I'll leave to people like you, who so revere him, to explain.