There’s something for everyone in this morning’s jobs report.
Democrats will point to the reported 163,000 new jobs last month, double June’s dismal 80,000 (which was revised downward today to an even more dismal 64,000). For the first time in quite awhile this was above economists’ estimates (they were predicting 95,000 new nonfarm jobs).
Republicans will point to the fact that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3 percent from 8.2. That’s the worst since February. The unemployment rate has been above 8 percent for 41 straight months now. The broader measure of unemployment, which includes part timers who would rather be working full time, also increased from 14.9 percent to 15 percent, a really bad number.
I wanted to add to John’s fine summary of today’s jobs report.
It really is a very ugly set of data.
It’s not simply that unemployment has been above 8 percent for a record 39 months, which is bad enough. While news stories report that 115,000 new jobs were added in April, the true picture is much worse. More than 340,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force last month. The total employment level for April fell 169,000. Ezra Klein of the Washington Post, who is hardly a conservative and has been quite sympathetic to President Obama, admits that unemployment “went down for the wrong reason: people dropping out of the labor force.”
In an open letter to President Obama in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mitt Romney doesn’t hold back:
Mr. President, forgive me for being blunt, but when it comes to economic affairs, you’re out of your depth. Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation and I have a plan to get government out of the way.
Mr. President, while campaigning for the presidency nearly four years ago, you declared that you were “absolutely certain that generations from now, we will be able to look back and tell our children that this was the moment when we began to provide care for the sick and good jobs to the jobless; this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.”
Mr. President, the American people are tired of the grandiose promises. And they are even more tired of the paltry results.
Some conservatives are critical of this “Obama’s a nice guy, but out of his element” message that Romney’s been pushing, and they do raise valid issues. But the fact is a lot of the voters Romney’s trying to reach out to do think Obama’s a nice guy, regardless of whether he is or not. If Romney starts attacking Obama as a person, these voters may just tune out.