Diary

The Road to 4 million (December jobs report)

Jobs gained / (lost) in December 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim):    (85,000)   

Jobs gained / (lost) in November 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (prelim):     4,000   

Jobs gained / (lost) in October 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final):         (127,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in September 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :   (139,000)

Jobs gained / (lost) in August 2009 per the US Dept of Labor  (final) :        (154,000)

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 :                             (3,423,000)   

 

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

Number of jobs remaining to hit goal :                                                      7,423,000

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

Job losses came in at (85,000) in December, a figure worse than most analysts’ estimates.  However, the November job estimate was actually revised to a gain of 4,000 from the previously reported (11,000) jobs lost.  That’s the first gain of jobs in 23 months.  The net increase of November jobs was almost exactly offset by the final October figure which has (127,000) in losses, greater than the earlier estimate of (111,000).

Unemployment rate as of : December 2009,  10.0%

November 2009, 10.0%

October 2009, 10.1%

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 : 8.6%

February 2009 : 8.2%

 

Link to Bureau of Labor Statistics data (unemployment rate trends)

 

Unemployment held steady at 10.0% in December.  The unemployment rate might have looked worse, but some 661,000 people dropped out of the labor altogether.  People no longer seeking work are not counted in the unemployment rate.  The “underemployment” rate (a measure including those that have quit looking for work, as well as those settling for part-time work when they can’t find a full-time job) is actually 17.3% for December.

 

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, and 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. 

 

After the encouraging November report, Christina Romer, Obama’s Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, conceded that December was a “slight setback”.  The figures for December also increase concern about January, as December figures likely still included a lot of temporary holiday season jobs that will evaporate come January.  

 

As of late, the administration has not been touting its number of “saved” jobs, perhaps due to the numerous stories of holes in its figures (overcounts, double-counts, counts from nonexistent congressional districts, etc.).  That notwithstanding, it still has not adjusted its “saved” / created jobs count on recovery.gov  (still sitting at the 640,329 posted on 10/30/09).

 

Notes:

  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