Today, the Bureau of Labor Statistics announced that the U.S. economy added a better than expected 290,000 jobs last month. The BLS also revised the jobs number for both February and March upwards, putting both of those months into the black in terms of job creation. (Due to 805,00 discouraged workers “feeling better about their prospects” and resuming their search for work, the unemployment rate actually ticked up to 9.9 percent.)
The continued turnaround of the labor market is a strong sign that the economic stimulus package passed last year is doing what it is supposed to. But today’s report also refutes one of the favorite Republican talking points about the stimulus, which is that it only preserved government jobs:
– Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R-MN): These are mostly government jobs, you know…The idea that government grows the economy when all they really do is extract money from taxpayers, bring it into the bureaucracy and put it back out into the economy on a political agenda is not growth.
– Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY): The stimulus bill has done “little or nothing” to stimulate the private sector. “It probably did save a lot of state government jobs.”
– Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS): State government has benefited by the stimulus package, because it’s poured in billions of dollars. The problem is we need private sector jobs.
– Rep. John Boehner (R-OH): Most of the so-called jobs that have been saved or created are government jobs, even though the President promised that 90 percent of these jobs would be private sector jobs.
– Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA): We’ve got to begin focusing not just on jobs, but on private sector jobs.
So the GOP should be pleased to note that, of the 290,000 jobs created in April, 231,000 of them were in the private sector. The private sector has actually added 523,000 new jobs in 2010.
This includes 44,000 manufacturing jobs, which is the most manufacturing jobs added to the U.S. economy since August, 1998. Overall, April was the strongest month for jobs growth since March, 2006. For the sake of comparison, here’s the change in monthly job loss or gain since December, 2007: