The Road to 4 million (July jobs report)

Jobs gained / (lost) in July 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim) :      (247,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in June 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim) :      (443,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in May 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :        (303,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in April 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):          (519,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in March 2009 per the US Dept of Labor (final):        (652,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in February 2009 per the US Dept of Labor (final) :    (681,000)


Number of jobs promised by the Obama administration :                       4,000,000

Number of jobs remaining to hit goal :                                                  6,845,000

Link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

Relatively good news this month.  Loss of (247,000) jobs was the smallest since August 2008.  Additionally, job losses in May were revised from (322,000) to (303,000), and losses in June were also revised from (467,000) to (443,000). 

Unemployment rate ticked down to 9.4% from June’s 9.5%.  Still, the White House expects unemployment to hit 10% or higher before the end of the year.  This can be expected as many who had given up looking for work are no longer counted in the unemployment rate.  With some positive signs in the employment picture we can expect many to re-engage which could cause a spike.

It’s important to note that the jobs losses and the unemployment rate are determined through separate surveys.  Job losses come from Establishment Survey Data, while the unemployment rate comes from Household Survey Data.  While the two measures should be directionally consistent, differences in the methodology can occasionally lead to what might appear to be disparate results.  This can explain a month like July, when we had job losses of (247,000), but yet the unemployment rate slightly decreased.


  1. Number of jobs promised by the Obama administration has varied between 3.5 – 4 million.  He promised 4 million early, and then started easing off on that.  I’m sticking with his original promise. (also “The road to 4 million” sounds a little better than “The road to 3.5 million).
  2. The above is tracking only new jobs created / lost as tracked by the Department of Labor through its Bureau of Labor statistics.  Obama team has repeatedly said the 4 million represents jobs created or saved.  Since a “saved” job is highly subjective and can’t be calculated by any consistent standard, they are not accounted for above.  Following the spike in the unemployment rate after the release of the initial May jobs report, Obama claimed he would renew efforts to ramp up stimulus spending which would lead to 600,000 jobs being “created or saved” this summer.  To that point, he was claiming that the stimulus had helped to “save” 150,000 jobs.
  3. Obama administration would likely dispute that the current job losses should be held against them, but that is life in the big city when you’re President.  The last economic recession started in March 2001 when George W Bush had been in office for 1.5 months.  Democrats were only too eager to hang that around his neck (ignoring the fact that it is economically impossible to drive the economy into recession in that short a time period).  Also, it is only fair to assume that Obama’s pledge involves a net gain of 4 million jobs as of the point when his administration took charge.  If we lose 4 million jobs at the beginning of his tenure only to gain 4 million jobs later to end up where we started, I hardly think that fulfills his promise.
  4. Updates to continue monthly