The Road to 4 million (September jobs report)

Jobs gained / (lost) in September 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim) : (263,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in August 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim) :      (201,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in July 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :             (304,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in June 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :            (463,000)

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)


Total jobs gained / (lost) since Obama took office :       (3,386,000)   


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

Number of jobs remaining to hit goal :                                                  7,386,000

Link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (raw figures of jobs gained / (lost)).

Losses shot back up with (263,000) in September.  August losses were revised lower with (201,000) vs previously reported losses of (216,000).  However, that was more than offset by the final revision of July numbers with (304,000) losses vs the previous figure of (276,000).

Unemployment rate as of : September 2009, 9.8%

August 2009 : 9.7%

July 2009: 9.4%

June 2009: 9.5%

May 2009: 9.4%

April 2009  8.9%

March 2009 : 8.5%

February 2009 : 8.1%


Unemployment rate ticked up to 9.8% from 9.7% in August.  Most economists expect the rate to continue to climb past 10%.  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 broader economy 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 there were job losses of (304,000), but yet the unemployment rate slightly decreased (from 9.5% to 9.4% that month).


Reaction from the Obama administration is predictable.  Per Joe Biden, the stimulus has worked and spending efforts need to be “redoubled” in the weeks ahead.  At least he didn’t make any claims of how many jobs have been “saved”.


  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.
  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