Both sides stray from reality in jobs report reaction

Posted on August 4, 2012 by


The GOP’s assumed candidate, Mitt Romney, promised, “My plan will turn things around and bring the economy roaring back, with twelve million new jobs created by the end of my first term.”

The history of presidential candidates’ promises is not all that good. With each president, in this case Barack Obama, the opposing party refers back to promises not kept. Sadly, the pledges are often unrealistic and represent either a hope or a statement of goals made for political purposes.

Romney also did not mention the jobs created in the Labor Department’s figures. In addition, he didn’t cite the separate survey of families that showed more jobs lost than created. These numbers do not conflict. The hike in new jobs reported in the business survey happened at the same time other families were reporting the loss of jobs.

Romney concentrated on the unemployment rate which ticked up .1% to 8.3%, while also saying, “That’s the longest period of time — 42 months — the longest period of time we’ve had unemployment above 8 percent in American history, since this has been recorded.”

This is not true. Unemployment rates have been calculated back to the early 1900’s mostly by the Bureau of the Census, which still compiles stats for the Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics. Unemployment rates were nearly three times as high in at least one year of the Great Depression.

Meantime, there is Ian B. Kruger’s statement. He is the chairman of the president’s Council of Economic Advisers. Here is a portion:

“While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression” It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”

The portion about continuing the policies that build an economy struck us as interesting. Those out of work might say that the current policies aren’t working nearly fast enough and that changes should be made.

The Obama administration will say its proposals are stalled in Congress. But will nothing happen before the election, largely because each side doesn’t want to go along with something that will win the opposition political points.

This is truly pathetic. It’s as if Washington doesn’t get any sense of what it’s like to be barely scraping by after job losses, housing issues, health problems, strained family dynamics and in some cases, food shortages. We must keep in mind that many jobs added are part-time and in businesses that are beneath their skills.

Kruger also said, it is “important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.”

However Krueger’s been saying the same thing for the past few months and the last two jobs reports have been dismal. Unfortunately, both sides suggest one report is not representative when the numbers go against them.