Tag Archives: economic news

More jobs than we originally thought

This is unexpected good news. Oh, wait. There is a group of Americans who can’t stand any good economic news. This will be seen by Fox News as evidence that the Obama administration is playing with the numbers. Whatever. As far as I know, when the numbers are bad conservatives are plenty happy with the BLS. It is only when the numbers start to look better that they have a problem.

From TP:

New data released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the private-sector added 450,000 more jobs as of March 2012 than previously thought. This means that the economy has crossed the threshold and more jobs have been created than lost during President Obama’s term.

This is a remarkable accomplishment—and one that would not have happened without the Recovery Act and other policies developed by this administration and passed by the 111th Congress in 2009. When President Obama was sworn in, the economy was losing jobs to the unprecedented tune of over 20,000 per day. Between the beginning of 2008 and February 2010 when the tide began to turn, the economy lost nearly 8.8 million jobs—4.3 million on Obama’s watch and almost 4.5 million under President Bush’s.

In February 2009, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed into law and funds began almost immediately moving their way through the economy and the pace of job losses slowed, turning positive a year later. Since February 2010, including the newly revised data, the economy has added 4.4 million total payroll jobs, an average of 135,00 per month.

Even so, today’s data contained another glaring statistic: the economy has lost more than 700,000 public sector jobs since 2009, holding back the overall recovery. Without those losses, our unemployment rate would be at least a full point lower.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Tornadoes rake across the Mid-West. There are several reported deaths.

Federal court in San Antonio has released an interim redistricting plan for Texas. This plan, of course, is set in stone, unless any of the nine parties who were contesting the last plan decide they would like to appeal it. I think this again points out how corrupt, disjointed, confusing and unfair political redistricting has become in this country. This is what you fight for. You fight to be able to control the redistricting maps, which really controls the houses of your state legislature and Congress. You can protect your friends. You can punish or eliminate your enemies through redistricting. We must go to a better system nationwide.

James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch, has relinquished his post as executive chairman of News International. This continues to be a big story.

North Korea has agreed to IAEA inspections and a nuclear moratorium. Raise your hand if you’ve read this before.

Economic numbers were revised upward for the fourth quarter.

Fox News continues to peddle sour economic news.

Rick Santorum lost both Arizona and Michigan. I think that he is done.

I’d like to spend just a moment thinking about Rick Santorum’s statement on John F. Kennedy’s classic speech on the separation of church and state. (Complete transcript here.)

Rick Santorum stated that he read the speech on religion and it made him want to “throw up.” He stated, “I don’t believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute. The idea that the church can have no influence or no involvement in the operation of the state is antithetical to the objectives and the vision of our country…. ” Now, of course, Rick Santorum was pandering for votes. He was desperate. He was in the final days of trying to rally his troops in Michigan and somehow eke out a victory. He was grasping for straws. Yet, I don’t believe that this excuses such over-the-top rhetoric. Every now and then, we truly need to hold our politicians accountable for what they say. It is clear to me that John F. Kennedy, the former president, wasn’t talking about running the presidency in a moral vacuum. President Kennedy understood, just as you and I understand, that Americans who come from a religious background carry their religious morality with them everywhere. This is a fact of life. The fact that you are cordial and treat others with respect is a reflection of your religious beliefs. The fact that you listen to other points of view or don’t listen to other points of view, again, is a reflection of your religious beliefs. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was central to what was on Americans minds at the time – the president should not answer to the Pope. Although some may laugh now, that was a real fear in 1960. If we elected a Catholic president, it would the same as electing the Pope as president. What John F. Kennedy was talking about was that he was going to be a president for everyone. He wasn’t going to take his marching orders from any religious figure, but that his religious upbringing, his moral character if you will, was still going to be the same. This is a nuanced argument. In 2012, nuanced arguments cannot be distilled down the talking points and bumper stickers so that they are belittled by folks like Rick Santorum. I find it disappointing that more people haven’t taken Rick Santorum the task. To be complete, Rick Santorum has backed away from his original statements.

Did the stimulus help?

With ugly economic news raining down on us like a monsoon, I think it is important to ask if the stimulus helped. Was it worth it?

First the badness:

Sales of newly built homes dropped to their lowest level since the government started tracking the numbers more than four decades ago, with demand for home purchases down in all four regions of the country.

The Commerce Department reported Wednesday that new homes sold in July at an annual rate of 276,000, down 12.4 percent from June and down 32.4 percent compared with the same time last year.

First, I would like to say what everyone knows. The housing sector was overbuilt. There are too many houses that are sitting empty now. New houses are not going to sell with so many old houses sitting idle. Loans for new houses are going to be harder to get and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. The housing sector is not going to be our economic engine in the next decade. It can’t be.

Unfortunately, it is hard to cheer up a man who is watching his house burn by reminding him that at least he has your health. The Stimulus has saved millions of jobs. The American auto industry is selling cars again. Mark Zandi, chief economist for The Economiststated:

Former McCain economic adviser, and longtime stimulus defender, Mark Zandi took issue today with House Minority Leader John Boehner’s criticisms of President Obama’s economic policies, and with multiple GOP calls for Obama’s top economic advisers to resign.

“I think we’d be in a measurably worse place if not for the stimulus,” Zandi said at the Christian Science Monitor breakfast this morning. “If we had not had the stimulus…we’d have fewer jobs today than we actually have.”

Zandi was responding to Boehner’s contention yesterday that stimulus spending “has gotten us nowhere.” Asked whether he agreed with Boehner, Zandi said “no.”

“Without the stimulus spending,” Zandi insisted, “instead of a 9.5 percent unemployment rate, we’d have an 11.5 percent unemployment rate.”

In addressing questions about the size of the stimulus he stated:

“I would have made it larger,” Zandi said. “I think we underestimated — significantly underestimated — the severity of the situation that we were in and still are in. And that that would have argued for a larger stimulus package.”