Anemic job growth

by on October 8th, 2004

The new job numbers are out just in time for the second presidential debate tonight and boy are they lousy.

Economists were predicting 150,000 net jobs, which is a poor figure to begin with, but the actual number came in 50,000 short of that. Wall Street reacted to the news by taking a dive.

“I wouldn’t want to be in President Bush’s shoes,” Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics told the Associated Press. “He had better prepare himself for an onslaught . . . The reality is that a 96,000 increase in a work force of a 131 million base is an anemic rise, and is in no way a satisfactory increase.”

The Bush administration was naturally full of excuses – hurricanes, high oil prices, etc. – and of course lots of Orwellian doublespeak which has been a regular feature of this administration. Here is Labor Secretary Elaine Chao spinning the new figures: “(They) show the strength and resilience of our economy and that the labor market continues to improve,” she said.

Four years into his administration and we are nearly a million jobs short of where we started which is unprecedented since the time of Herbert Hoover. But look for Bush tonight to tout all these low-paying service jobs that have been ladled out over the past year in place of high-paying manufacturing jobs as evidence that his tax cuts are working.

Mike Thomas