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Economy Adds 144,000 Jobs (plus 73,000 more)

New numbers out -and remember- John Kerry says he wants to reverse Bush policy.

U.S. August Payrolls Rose 144,000; Jobless Rate Falls

Sept. 3 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. employers added 144,000 workers to payrolls in August, the most since May and the first acceleration in five months, suggesting the economy is emerging from a midyear lull. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, the lowest since October 2001.

The increase follows a revised gain of 73,000 in July that was more than twice the number estimated last month. Manufacturing employment rose 22,000 and the jobless rate declined from 5.5 percent in July.

Of course when the jobless rate under Bill Clinton was at 5.8% that was good. Now that it is 5.4% under George Bush that will be considered baaad.


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Comments (34)

The bottom line is that you... (Below threshold)

The bottom line is that you need about 150,000 new jobs each month just to offset increases in population. Bush has never averaged this and only rarely has he created more than 150,000 new jobs in a month. That is why he is the first President since Hoover to end up with fewer people employed at the end of his term than were working when he took office.

5.4%.... (Below threshold)


Neil then why the hell is t... (Below threshold)

Neil then why the hell is the unemployment rate going DOWN? (as toddzilla said 5.4%)

sigh- some people just can't see past a talking point.

Paul, the unemployment rate... (Below threshold)

Paul, the unemployment rate is going down because people are leaving the labor market. The total number of people with jobs, as well as the percentage of people of 'working age'--call it the 'employment rate'--have both delcined since Bush took office. Furthermore, the number of people with jobs is even lower than the Bush administration predicted last February. They predicted non-farm employment to be 133.18 million by now; it is only 131.47 million.


Okay, that's fine; don't co... (Below threshold)
Byron R.:

Okay, that's fine; don't consider that Sept. 11 had any impact on the economy.

I mean we're talking a 4 year net of less than 2 million jobs.

Does it make since that Sept. 11 might have caused that much disrpution!!!

I am so tired of you doofuses.

"so tired,"

"so many doofuses,"

"so little time," he said, lurking off to anothe blog where he would be certain to meet another obstructionist leftie.

<a href="http://blog.simmin... (Below threshold)

Black Unemployment
Poverty in America

Number of civilians employed January 31, 2001: 137,581,000
Number of civilians employed August 31, 2004: 139,681,000
Number of jobs gained: 2,100,000

Median household income, while below the peaks of 1998-2000, was still higher than at any other time prior to 1997. The number in poverty is lower than any time in the period 1992-1997. The overall 2003 poverty rate of 12.5%, though higher than the years 1997-2002, is still lower than in any year since 1981.

Women are closer to parity with men's wages under the Bush administration than ever before. The female to male earnings ratio is down for 2003, but the ratios for all three years of the Bush Administration are much higher than at any other time in history, with 2002 being the record year. The 2003 ratio of 75.5% is still much higher than the previous high, before Bush, in 1998 of 74.2%.

The black poverty rate in 2003 was 24.4%. But it was higher in every year before 1999.

hmmm Don't mess with Chuck... (Below threshold)

hmmm Don't mess with Chuck

But Neil you say "Paul, the unemployment rate is going down because people are leaving the labor market."

B.S. You guys have been using that line for 2 years. It simply is not true. You can't make the case that millions are so discouraged that they can't find a job they just quit looking BUT they don't file for unemployment. What are all these people independently wealthy and don't need to an income?

It's B.S.

Byron, the 1.7 million job ... (Below threshold)

Byron, the 1.7 million job difference is since February, 8 months ago, not over 4 years. furhtermore, it is the difference betwen the administration's precition--which of course would factor in 9/11 and other influences.

Paul, I didn't say they were discouraged, simply that they have stopped looking for work. Perhaps they went back to school. I don't know.

Chuck, I don't know where you get your information, but if you check this graph from the Bureau of Labor statistics, you will see that total nonfarm employment had declined since 2000.

Guys, 9/11 was a terrible tragedy, but you have to stop using it as a catch-all excuse for why the economy is performing badly.

Professor Fair at Yale (a l... (Below threshold)

Professor Fair at Yale (a liberal democrat) uses economic data and his econometric model to predict the vote in presidential elections. The economy is doing so well that he predicts Bush wins in a landslide with 57% of the vote.

Anyone who says the economy is bad should go argue with Fair.

Sorry, I forgot to include ... (Below threshold)
A comment written on the ru... (Below threshold)

A comment written on the run, here (can't remain to ruminate the links and percentages), but, on overall "population" perceptions, the American population is "aging": more people leaving the employable ages than are arriving to join it.

So, there's got to be an effect there on who is employed and how many of us are, by that fact alone.

Coupled with the fact that the human population is increasing in huge numbers with every passing year, there's also an effect by sheer increase in humans needing jobs, combined with more jobs more efficiently done as human capacity improves (less "hands" to do the same tasks, which continues to become more prominent as technology and human educational standards improve)...

However, the biggest thing that Demos miss and/or have some irrational need to publicize, is that their conclusions are completely wrong. They can (and they do) use the "the first President since Hoover...most jobs lost..." line of attack, but it is like someone without any teeth saying that Listerine is the toothpaste that people just must use inorder to be "like (them)" (or thereabouts, perhaps I make the point with that allegory).

Which point IS, is that Demos make no sense with their "attack" point about "jobs" because they refuse to discuss the significant aspects to "jobs" and how they exist, who makes them, where they are, what they are, who they affect, etc.

Demos also promote "the environment" (another very ill defined and entirely too general an expression for to make any sense in reality to any discussion, by anyone) while ignoring the fact that increasing certain conditions and regulations actually DECREASES a certain number of those "jobs" that they also promote (more of that too-general language than no one can identify with any specificity, least of all Democrats themselves)...by preventing increased manufacturing and industry, you eliminate a certain capacity to employ persons (you "lose jobs").

The jobs "off shore" ...to be continued because in my experience, working to improve and employ humans in other nations of our world also helps improve our own country. Without jobs elsewhere, they come here...and increased immigration isn't necessarily a "good thing" when what you want is to see more Americans with "jobs".

I use the quotes for words here that the Demos like to emphasize without offering any substance to their arguments, so have tried to go the Democrat way for these comments by joining in their irregular and quite inexact use of words like "jobs" and "the environment", which no one ever seems to know how to define, but they (Demos) do seem to like to use those words to attack Republicans.

Politicians don't create jo... (Below threshold)

Politicians don't create jobs.

There are 2 ways for politicians to influence the job market :
- by increasing taxes, and thus regulating it for their clients (clientism). "Vote for me and i'll give you money (i stole from other people)". It is also called socialism, communism, ... and it is the standard policy of democrats and other "progressive" politicians all over the world.
- by reducing taxes, and thus de-regulating it. The effect is an economy bouncing back because of ENTREPRENEURS CREATING JOBS PREVIOUSLY DESTROYED BY POLITICIANS. It is also called conservatism and it is the standard policy of republicans and other "conservative" politicians all over the world.

Politicians don't create jobs. Most of them are jurists or syndicalists who don't have the slightest idea about what it takes to do business. They are assisted by academics who know even less about it. So they'd better keep their hands of the economy !

That basic knowledge of an economy drives the republicans. OF COURSE jobs are being created when you lower taxes, simplify regulations, employ less officials, in short, by reducing government. But the jobs are not created by the politicians. That work is done by the competent people : the capitalists !

What about the deficit? It's too bad we have to fight terrorism, that has nothing to do with republicans or democrats. The one thing i'm willing to pay taxes for is our military.

My father and both of my gr... (Below threshold)

My father and both of my grandfathers owned their own businesses. I've been in business for fifteen years. I understand what it takes to create jobs and I have no problem with outsourcing jobs because I believe in free market economics. In other words I abhor bloated farm subsidies and steel tariffs. Nonethelless, the facts are what they are. Jobs have been lost over the past 4 years and it is the first time since the Great Depression that this has happened. That is a fact. Corporations are more profitable and perhaps that will eventually translate into more jobs, but it hasn't yet. Bush's tax cuts may have been a good thing, but they were disingenously sold as job programs. Bush has made a mess of the economy and left us with huge long term deficits. You can vote for Bush if you want, but do it based on knowledge of the facts and not prejudice.

Neil,You say that ... (Below threshold)


You say that Bush has made a mess of the economy, but you fail to tell us what it is he supposedly did which messed up the economy.

Economy was going into rescession (if not already in one) when he took office. The 9/11 attacks really hammered an already reeling economy. Once Bush's policies started taking effect (remember that there is a significant time lag before policy changes show up), the economy has grown and grown.

Your payroll figures do not agree with any other economic data. The household survey numbers show a tremendous increase in jobs and are consistent with every other economic statistic.

But even if we use the discredited payroll numbers, the economy has been great ever since Bush's policies took effect. Your basic argument seems to be that Bush should be blamed for failing to overcome the huge hole that Clinton created.

Stan, the household numbers... (Below threshold)

Stan, the household numbers can't be relied on. Greenspan has made this clear. You are right that even though the recession officially began during Bush's term, its seeds were created during the last year of Clinton's and the 'irrational exuberance' in the stock market, however, you also can't keep harping on "the huge hole that Clinton created" when there is no evidence for it. It is a mantra among Republicans, but it is not supported by the data.

Bush and the Republicans did many things wrong, but the worst was their outrageous fiscal policies. They increased the federal budget at a faster rate than at any time since Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society programs and at the same time enacted irresponsibly large tax cuts that provided relatively little short term stimulus.

Meil, I don't know... (Below threshold)
byron R.:


I don't know where you get the 1.7 MM jobs number from, and I don't care. Since there has been a great upsiwing for the last year, I don't see why it matters.

Re Prediction: That prediction didn't anticipate 9/11., AND the continued attackd on supply lines in the Mid-East.

Give a guy a break for throwing the dice. That's the way life works. Sometimes events beyond your control go WAAAAAY beyond your control.

I am not an American, so pl... (Below threshold)

I am not an American, so please don't take this the wrong way, but I just have to ask What the [email protected]##$%#$% planet are you guys from?

5.4% unemployment
2.8% growth

and you are having a debate about how bad the US economy is???

Byron, the 1.7 million jobs... (Below threshold)

Byron, the 1.7 million jobs is the difference between the number of people that the administration predicted this last February would be employed by now and the actual number. They have overestimated this number in every prediction for the past four years. Because this prediction was made just 8 months ago it had to have included the affects of 9/11.

I would prefer that the President do better than "throw the dice" when he is making decisions as important as going to war. Attacks on supply linnes are and were easily predictable, as was the affect of these disruptions on oil prices. I expect our leaders to think through their actions and not simply gamble with our future.

Jack-It's an electio... (Below threshold)
Alan Greenspan:

It's an election year and people who would otherwise say 'how good the economy is!' are trying to twist the facts so their candidate will win.

Neil, the unemployment rate... (Below threshold)

Neil, the unemployment rate is calculated using the household survey.

All my numbers are from the BLS. Greenspan is a moron. If you take the time to find the BLS's explanation of the differences in the payroll and the household survey, you'll see that the household survey (which includes farm workers [why exclude them?] is just the payroll survey with some additions and subtractions.

pdf file

"The household survey figures in Box 3 are calculated from a variation of household employment used in BLS research (also shown by the red lines in Charts 1 and 2). This version of household employment smoothes out the effects of sizable population control revisions to the survey in January 2003 and January 2004. In addition, it adjusts household survey employment to make it more similar in concept and definition to payroll employment. This adjustment to household survey employment subtracts from total employment agriculture and related employment, nonagricultural self employed, unpaid family and private household workers, and workers on unpaid leave from their jobs, and then adds nonagricultural wage and salary multiple jobholders."

See here for a longer rant and some info on the rate of LLC formations that supports the household survey.

And, this administration has the lowest average poverty rate in a generation.

Mr. Greenspan, the only fac... (Below threshold)

Mr. Greenspan, the only facts that I 've presented are from the Bureau of Labor statistics. Instead of falsely accusing me of 'twisting the facts', why don't you present some facts of your own to counter my argument. It's really quite easy once you get the hang of it.

Chuck Thanks for t... (Below threshold)


Thanks for the response. I used Greenspan's comments as one example. My understanding is that almost no serious economist relies on the Household survey for monthly changes in jobs. It is simply too erratic. In any case, I think it is bad to use whatever survey gives you best numbers simply for partisan reasons. It smacks of starting with your answer and then looking for the data to support it. Its 'creationist economics'. Both Democrats and Republicans are guilty of this.

I have been looking for an intelligent conservative blog. I see that you have one. I will bookmark it and check it in the future. If you have other conservative blogs that you like, let me know. I'm not sure that the folks here are really interested in intelligent debate. Now I must go and celebrate the magnificent fruits of Labor in America.

Neil,Don't look at... (Below threshold)


Don't look at the household survey for monthly changes. We haven't. Use a rolling average. No one is saying that a month to month change has any more validity than a monthly change in the payroll number. Neither is worth squat on that basis.

However, the Household methodology is superb over an extended period of time. It consistently shows outstanding job growth. And that job growth is exactly what we would expect from all the other economic data. The same data that economic models have been using to predict a huge win for Bush.

You keep saying things are bad, but all the data says your'e crazy. Your theory that a huge Keynesian boost to the economy is somehow terrible for the economy is the biggest joke I've heard since taking Marxist economics as an Econ major.

It's an election year and... (Below threshold)

It's an election year and people who would otherwise say 'how good the economy is!' are trying to twist the facts so their candidate will win.
It's an election year and people who would otherwise say 'how bad the economy is!' are trying to twist the facts so their candidate will win.

I understand that the economy did not improve because of Clinton. And now I understand that Bush did not cause it to tank. Obviously presidents have nothing to do with the economy. That's a load off my mind, now I won't need to vote for any mental pseudo-Texans!

Well, let me expand my comm... (Below threshold)
Alan Greenspan:

Well, let me expand my comments then:

TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE ELECTION DURING an election year and people who would otherwise say 'how good the economy is!' are trying to twist the facts so their candidate will win.
If you don't accept that truism then that's your loss.

And as Jack said :
"5.4% unemployment
2.8% growth

and you are having a debate about how bad the US economy is???"

Anyone with common sense can see that saying 'THAT is bad news' is political spin.

We're agreed then. Of cours... (Below threshold)

We're agreed then. Of course it's political spin to constantly talk about something the president has nothing to do with. I'll vote for the hottest first lady.

According to the Democrats,... (Below threshold)

According to the Democrats, since they have introduced this 150,000 new jobs per month just to keep up with those entering the job market, using their own math, the first 14,400,000 created under President Clinton should not count, since they were just "breaking even". Using their yardstick, Clinton's performance was significantly less impressive than they would have you believe, especially since he got out of Dodge just in time to not have to deal with the bursting of the mystical tech bubble, and susbsequent recession.

Let's use the Dems numbers ... (Below threshold)

Let's use the Dems numbers and apply them to Clinton. They state that the first 150,000 jobs a month are needed to simply break even with the new entrants to the job market, and as such, do not count. If that is the case, which they never applied to Clinton, the first 14,400,000 jobs in his administration did not count. Then, if you consider that he got out of Dodge before the full effects of the tech bubble bursting and the recession fully setting in, his economic record is suddenly not quite as rosy as one would have you believe.

Neil, why do you insist on ... (Below threshold)

Neil, why do you insist on using non-farm numbers instead of total employment? Could it possibly be because the non-farm numbers don't look nearly as good as the total numbers?

Neil:"I'm not sure t... (Below threshold)
Alan Greenspan:

"I'm not sure that the folks here are really interested in intelligent debate. Now I must go..."

Other than my comments, I think there were several people here who brought up some very intelligent debating points. (And my comments were pretty mild.)

Do you really mean "People disagree with me, so I'll insult them and leave."?

You guys realize that 144k ... (Below threshold)

You guys realize that 144k is actually below average? Are you celebrating mediocraty?

Yes my middle initial is du... (Below threshold)

Yes my middle initial is dubya.
This is my first post @ wizbangblog and the first time I've seen it. I've enjoyed every thread immensely. I am personally a conservative, even though I'm not registered with any party.

Someone above mentioned that 9/11 shouldn't be used as a catch-all phrase for the U.S. economy, and that the first time since the Great Depression that we've lost this many jobs or whatever.

I think that there might be a reason, that the events of september 11, 2001 had such a wide-ranging effect that I remember that it took almost a year or more before things started to turn around (even longer for the travel industry).

The President does not affect the economy, the job market, the housing market, medical insurance, etc. However, the President can initiate bills that can help make such things better.

Does anyone remember history? During the Great Depression, Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal only boosted the economy a little. It took the second world war (and the mega-increased government spending) in order to finally kick us back into a bull market.

We're agreed then. Of course it's political spin to constantly talk about something the president has nothing to do with. I'll vote for the hottest first lady.

Posted by: moebius at September 3, 2004 07:03 PM

Why don't we vote for who has the sexiest daughters?

The Bush twins all the way.

Bills should start in Congr... (Below threshold)

Bills should start in Congress and President Bush *has* said that he 'has people' to understand policy. So, I say we should eliminate the middleman and just elect the Bush twins.

I haven't read all the comm... (Below threshold)

I haven't read all the comments, so this thought may have already been made. As a baby boomer and recent retiree, could it be that the reason so many people who have left the job market are not searching for another job is because, after 30 or more years of toil, they don't want another one?






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