Today’s headlines in the national newspapers contain all good economic news.
The U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, a performance that beat expectations. Faster Pace of Hiring in June Signals Growth Is Rebounding (NY Times).
This is the fifth straight month the U.S. has added more than 200,000 jobs, a sign that the recovery is accelerating after slowing during the harsh winter. June hiring spree drives down jobless rate (Washington Post).
Small business hiring surges to fastest pace since 2012 (Washington Post).
The Dow Jones industrial average is trading above 17,000 for the first time after the U.S. government reported a big gain in hiring last month. Dow breaks 17,000 following strong US job gains (Washington Post).
Dow Hits Milestone as Jobs Data Lift Stocks (NY Times).
Hell, even the U.S. trade deficit fell in May as U.S. exports hit an all-time high. U.S. trade deficit drops (Washington Post).
Recent reporting about the shrinkage in the GDP due to cold weather earlier this year led economist Jared Bernstein to argue that growing employment is not mathematically compatible with a contracting, productive economy, so something must be off with those GDP numbers. Jobs Numbers Raise Questions About Fall in G.D.P. (Like George Costanza in “Seinfeld” The Hamptons (TV Episode 1994) “I was in the pool! I WAS IN THE POOL!“).
So kwitcher bitchin’, things are getting better. It just doesn’t feel like it in states run by Tea-Publican governors and/or Tea-Publican controlled state legislatures that are holding back if not sabotaging the economic recovery (see next related post).
Steve Benen has his monthly breakdown of the June jobs numbers, An emphatic answer to the ‘Where are the jobs?’ question:
The new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 288,000 jobs in June, well ahead of forecasts. The overall unemployment rate, meanwhile, dripped to 6.1% — its lowest point since September 2008, nearly six years ago.
For the fifth consecutive month, public-sector layoffs did not drag down the overall employment figures. Though jobs reports over the last few years have shown monthly government job losses, in June, the private sector added 262,000 while the public sector added 26,000. The latter may not sound like much, but after several years in which that total was negative, it’s heartening.
As for the revisions, April’s totals were revised up from 282,000 to 304,000, while May’s figures were also revised up, from 217,000 to 224,000. Combined, that’s an addition 29,000 jobs.
Overall, the report suggests the jobs landscape is clearly improving, which is no doubt proof that American employers are in on the conspiracy to distract Americans from Benghazi.
All told, over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has added over 2.49 million jobs overall and 2.43 million in the private sector. What’s more, June was the 52nd consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth — the longest on record.
At this point, with the year about half over, 2014 is currently on track to be the best year for U.S. job creation since 1999.
Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.
Benen adds in Job creation trips up GOP message machine:
The more America’s job market improves, the tougher it is for Republicans to explain what’s happening. According to GOP talking points, tax hikes, regulations, and “Obamacare” are dragging down the economy, making it impossible for employers to create jobs.
And yet, the unemployment rate is at a six-year low, we’re on track for the best year for jobs since the Clinton era, and we just broke the record for the most consecutive months of private-sector job gains. For the right, this just shouldn’t be possible.
* * *
But even funnier was House Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) unintentionally hilarious statement in response to the new jobs report.
The headline clearly says the press released relates to the “June 2014 Unemployment Report,” but remarkably, the Speaker of the House managed to issue a statement that ignores the June 2014 Unemployment Report.
“The House has passed dozens of jobs bills that would mean more paychecks and more opportunities for middle-class families. But in order for us to make real progress, the president must do more than criticize. From trade to workplace flexibility, there’s no shortage of common ground where he can push his party’s leaders in the Senate to work with us. Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem. For our part, we will continue to listen to and address the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’”
Look, it’s the day before a major national holiday. It’s quite possible that Boehner never even saw the job numbers and this statement was written days ago and released to the media by some poor intern stuck in a largely empty office.
But given the importance of jobs to the American public, is it really too much to ask that Boehner put a little effort into this? Let’s unpack the response to jobs data that managed to ignore jobs data:
* “The House has passed dozens of jobs bills.” Actually, it hasn’t. If you look at Boehner’s list of “jobs bills,” it’s primarily a bunch of bills written for and by the oil industry, encouraging drilling everywhere. Here’s the challenge for the Speaker’s office: put together a jobs bill, subject it to independent scrutiny, find out how many jobs it would create, and get back to us. We’ve been waiting for three years. It hasn’t happened.
* “[T]he president must do more than criticize.” Well, he has. Obama has sent real, independently scored bills that would create jobs. The House Republican majority has so far failed to even vote on them.
* “Until he provides that leadership, he is simply part of the problem.” Boehner is practically allergic to leadership, unable to convince his own far-right caucus to listen to him on most issues, making this a curious line of attack. Regardless, the president, unlike the hapless Speaker, has lowered unemployment and has presented real plans to expand on this progress. Can Boehner say the same?
* “For our part, we will continue to listen.” To whom? I can think of a whole lot of measures that Americans have urged Congress to pass, which Boehner has ignored entirely. Who exactly does the Speaker think he’s listening to?
* “[A]ddress the concerns of Americans who are still asking ‘where are the jobs?’” They’re right here. If the Speaker’s office looked at the jobs report before commenting on the jobs report, this would have been obvious.
We can only imagine how much better economic growth and job growth would have been today but for Tea-Publican obstruction of the stimulus bills, tax bills, and jobs bills proposed by President Obama. We might be enjoying the go-go economy of the Clinton years again.
If you want to see a full economic recovery, Americans have to stop being stupid and remove the obstructionist Tea-Publicans from office — the people most responsible for the failed economic policies that led to the Bush Great Recession — and who have been holding back and sabotaging economic recovery with their insane austerity policies, budget sequesters, and government shutdowns.