Political Animal


January 06, 2012 9:10 AM Private sector jobs looking much stronger

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 200,000 jobs in December, but as has been the case for a long while, it’s the private sector that continues to fare better. Last month, businesses added 212,000 jobs, making it one of the best months since the recession began.

For the 2011 calendar year, BLS data shows the U.S. private sector has now added 1.89 million jobs in 2011, well ahead of last year’s private-sector total of 1.2 million, and the best year for businesses since 2005. Since March 2010, American businesses have created 3.13 million jobs. (In 2008, the private sector lost 3.8 million jobs, and in 2009, the private sector lost 5 million jobs.)

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.

Just for fun, let’s add one more homemade chart, showing annual job losses/gains in the private sector over the last two decades. Red columns point to years under Republican administrations, blue columns point to job totals under Democratic administrations. (Note: 2011 was the best year for private-sector job growth since 2005, and the second best since 1999.)

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.


Post a comment
  • Derek on January 06, 2012 9:23 AM:

    this should likely be noted with a caveat that many of these are temporary seasonal jobs.

  • c u n d gulag on January 06, 2012 9:27 AM:

    Derek beat me to it.

    Let's see what Jan & Feb look like.

  • Ron Byers on January 06, 2012 9:33 AM:

    I think the unemployment percentage is seasonally adjusted, we need to find out for sure.

  • ClearEye on January 06, 2012 9:36 AM:


    These figures are seasonally adjusted, according to the BLS release. http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

    This is how BLS summarizes the gains:

    ''Job gains occurred in transportation and warehousing, retail trade, manufacturing, health care, and mining.''

    Mark Zandi commented earlier this morning on the manufacturing recovery, of which he noted US auto industry growth, including suppliers, is a big component.

  • Pal2008 on January 06, 2012 10:00 AM:

    Obama needs to continue agressively promoting jobs and beat the hell out of the republicans in the process. We need big coat tails in the fall to take back the house and keep the senate.

  • Anonymous on January 06, 2012 10:34 AM:

    ..."this should likely be noted with a caveat that many of these are temporary seasonal jobs."

    As well as the fact that far too many workers are "finding jobs" that pay far less than their previous standard. We are in effect massively ratcheting down the middle class, especially for older workers....you lost most (or all) of your 401k in the thievery, and now at maybe 50 years old, you're maybe going back down to $9-$12 per hour. Not exactly a way to rebuild the middle class.

    So, yes, it's a better jobs picture, but we are a LONG, LONG, way from a real recovery for most of us, although some are happy- this morning, Joe Scarborough almost came on the air, he was so giddy over this great job news.

  • Bruce K on January 06, 2012 10:36 AM:

    oh, so 2012 is going to be a peace and prosperity election??

  • Lucy Wright on January 06, 2012 11:53 PM:

    Government need to take some extreme step against corruption since at present there are lot of vacancy available. Just due to corrupt politician this all ups and downs are happening.

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