The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported this morning that the economy produced 80,000 jobs in June and the unemployment rate held steady at 8.2%. Forecasters expected anywhere from 90,000 to 100,000 jobs. BLS also revised numbers for April, reducing the number created by 9,000 from +77,000 to +68,000 jobs, and May, upward by 8,000 to +77,000 jobs. The U-6 rate, what some economists call the “real” measure of unemployment, actually edged up from 14.8% to 14.9%.
In order to keep up with population growth, the economy needs to produce 120,000 to 150,000 jobs per month.
Americans for Prosperity (AFP), a DC-based grassroots conservative group, has released a new ad knocking President Barack Obama for his recent comments declaring that the “private sector is doing fine.” The ad points out that Americans have seen an unemployment rate over 8% for 40 consecutive months with 12.7 million Americans currently unemployed and that the natonal debt has now exceeded $15 trillion.
Noting that Obama is out of touch with Americans, AFP asks, “How can [Obama] fix the economy if he doesn’t know what’s wrong?” At the end of the ad, AFP promotes their “Jobs Agenda,” policy proposals that would jump start the economy:
Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) warned opponents of ObamaCare, President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, not to be too giddy if the Supreme Court strikes down the law:
House Speaker John Boehner issued a warning Thursday to fellow House Republicans, firmly stating they should avoid celebrating if the Supreme Court overturns the controversial health care law passed by Democrats.
“No one knows what the Court will decide, and none of us would presume to know. But if the Court strikes down all or part of the president’s health care law, there will be no spiking of the ball,” Boehner said in a memo to GOP members of the chamber.
Even if the high court rules in favor of Republicans’ argument against the controversial law, Boehner on Thursday encouraged House members to stay focused on the economy–not claiming victory.
“We will not celebrate at a time when millions of our fellow Americans remain out of work, the national debt has exceeded the size of our nation’s economy, health costs continue to rise, and small businesses are struggling to hire,” Boehner stated.
Good luck with that. I get what Boehner is saying, but I doubt you’re going to find many that heed his advice. I’m not saying I disagree; the approach is certainly important. The economy is the biggest issue facing the country, so it is wise to stay on message.
The Constitution is being threatened here. If the Supreme Court does find an excuse to deem health care to be a “unique market” and somehow find the individual mandate as constitutionial, a new precedent will be set that will only be used to further government power each time there is some perceived crisis. This is very much a debate over a limited government versus one that is limitless.
Remember that time when President Barack Obama said the “private-sector is doing fine”? Apparently, the private-sector hasn’t received that memo. According to new numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers posted the fewest number of job openings in five months:
The Labor Department said Tuesday that job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 3.4 million in April, down from 3.7 million in March. The March figure was the highest in nearly four years.
The decline could mean employers are growing more cautious about adding workers in the face of financial turmoil in Europe and slower growth in the United States. Job openings can take one to three months to fill.
There were 12.5 million unemployed people in April. That means there was an average of 3.7 people competing for each open job. In a healthy job market, the ratio is usually around 2 to 1.
Openings have risen by almost a third since the recession ended in June 2009. But they are still below pre-recession levels of about 5 million per month.
April’s decline in openings has coincided with a sharp slowdown in hiring. Employers added an average of only 73,000 jobs in April and May. That’s down from an average of 226,000 in the first three months of this year.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) warned back in May that failing to extend the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts would, in these very tough economic times, lead to yet another recession. Higher taxes would, according to the CBO, “discourage people from working and saving, further reducing output and income.” That would seem to most like a basic understanding of economics. Unfortunately, President Barack Obama is unconcerned and is leaving no one to believe that he is willing to make a deal to keep this from happening.
But another study shows that if taxes aren’t kept at current rates, that it will slow economic growth, taking the economy down a tumultuous path:
A new study released Friday shows that letting any of the Bush-era tax cuts expire will weigh heavily on economic growth and lead to millions of job losses, likely plunging the economy back into recession.
The report by the American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) shows that if Congress fails to take any action and to address the so-called fiscal cliff, a combination of expiring tax provisions and automatic spending cuts, the economy will lose $855 billion from gross domestic product, more than 1 million jobs next year and up to 3 million in 2014 along with an average of $1 trillion in lost consumer spending.
Economic growth would drop by 2.6, 3.3 and 0.5 percentage points from 2013 through 2015.
Desparately trying to get back in a groove after a rough end to last week, President Barack Obama visited Cleveland, Ohio yesterday where he relaunched his economic message with familar themes and talking points:
Framing his re-election bid as a stark choice between government action to lift the middle class and a return to Republican economic policies that he said had caused a deep, on Thursday called the presidential decision facing Americans a clear-cut one that will determine the long-term trajectory of the economy.
“This November is your chance to render a verdict on the debate over how to grow the economy, how to create good jobs, how to pay down our deficit,” Mr. Obama told enthusiastic supporters at Cuyahoga Community College here. “Your vote will finally determine the path that we take as a nation — not just tomorrow, but for years to come.”
In his remarks, the president acknowledged that divergent views between him and Mr. Romney on how to revive the economy would define the election.
“There is one place I stand in complete agreement with Mr. Romney,” Mr. Obama said. “This election is about our economic future.”
Not only is President Barack Obama dealing with his recent comments about the private-sector and slowing job growth, more bad news came down yesterday. Sadly, Reuters reported yesterday that the monthly budget deficit for May — $125 billion — was up from the previous year (emphasis mine):
The U.S. government posted a budget deficit of $125 billion in May, more than twice the level registered in the same month last year.
So far this fiscal year, the budget deficit stands at $844.5 billion, narrower than at the same time a year ago.
Under the government’s accounting system, October is the opening month of fiscal 2012. During fiscal 2011 which ended Sept. 30, the budget deficit totaled $1.296 trillion.
Remember that Obama said during his 2008 campaign against Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) that he would deliver a “net-spending cut” during his first term. Here we are now more than three years into his presidency and the national debt has increased by $5 trillion. When George W. Bush ran up spending by $4 trillion over eight years, then-Sen. Obama slammed his “unpatriotic” spending from the Senate floor.
There is not denying that Bush was a spend-thrift, which is why I shdder when Republicans say they “miss” him. However, Obama almost makes his predecessor look reasonable by comparison.
As has been pointed a couple of times this week, President Barack Obama has said that the “private-sector is fine” and that the real lag in jobs comes from the state and local governments. The comments are scary in that Obama does seem to grasp that the private-sector is where the real strength of our economy is and that regulations and mandates are causing lagging job growth. But what of the substance of his claim? Obama is wrong, according to Ed Carson at Investors Business Daily:
Private-sector jobs are still down by 4.6 million, or 4%, from January 2008, when overall employment peaked. Meanwhile government jobs are down just 407,000, or 1.8%. Federal employment actually is 225,000 jobs above its January 2008 level, an 11.4% increase. That’s right, up 11.4%.
Private payrolls have been trending higher in the last couple of years while government has been shedding staff. But that’s because governments did not cut jobs right away. Overall government employment didn’t peak until April 2009, 16 months after the recession started. It didn’t fall below their January 2008 level until September 2010.
The recession was boomtime for federal employment, especially after Obama took office. Federal jobs kept rising (excluding a temporary Census surge in early 2010) until March 2011 — more than three years after overall payrolls peaked.
On Monday, the Washington Post reported that negotiations had begun in Congress to deal with what has become known as “Taxmageddon,” when the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts expire. Even though it seems that the larger focus is tax reform, Conn Carroll notes that no one should bank on President Barack Obama going along with extending current tax rates, even temporarily:
If American voters reelect President Obama, they have no right to complain when their taxes go up by $494 billion on January 1st. That is the total amount taxes are set to increase, automatically if Congress does not pass, and Obama does not sign, tax relief before December 31st of this year.
In the current edition of The New Yorker, Ryan Lizza reports that unlike 2010 and 2011, Obama is prepared to follow through on his threat to let taxes go up after he no longer has to face voters ever again: “Several White House officials I talked to made it clear that if a deal, or at least the framework of a deal, is not reached before December 31st Obama would allow all the Bush tax cuts to expire – a tactic that would achieve huge deficit reduction, but in a particularly painful and ill-conceived fashion.”
It’s been a few days since President Barack Obama told White House press reporters that the private-sector is “doing fine” and claimed that the public-sector was the part of the economy that was really hurting. Mitt Romney and Republicans have been hammering away at the remarks, and justifibly so. Even Paul Krugman, who is often serves as an apologist for Obama, criticized the remark and Joe Biden’s former economic adviser “winced” when he heard it.
But we’re still very early in the campaign and, as I’ve noted before, voters have a short memory. Just because a candidate said or did something very stupid months before an election doesn’t mean that it will be remembered on election days — in fact, most elections boil down to what happens 60 days prior.
Over at Outside the Beltway, my good friend Doug Mataconis argues, noting opposing commentary from Chris Chris Cillizza and Mark Halperin, that it’s unlikely that Obama’s comments will have any lasting effect and complaining that the media spends too much time on the dumb things politicians say: