Good News on Jobs
Today is the first Friday of the month, which means it’s the day the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) releases monthly figures on jobs and unemployment. Today’s news was unexpectedly good, with the unemployment rate dropping sharply from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. Just to put that into perspective, the unemployment rate during the president’s first full month in office, February 2009, was 8.3% and it’s been above 8 percent ever since.
ThinkProgress’ Pat Garofalo breaks down today’s news:
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today that payrolls expanded by 114,000 last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 7.8 percent. 873,000 Americans reported having found jobs in September (in the so-called household survey), the most since 1983.
This adds to the total number of jobs created over President Obama’s term; revisions released last week by the BLS showed that Obama is net positivefor jobs since January 2009. Here are some other highlights from the report:
– Labor force grows. The labor force grew by 418,000 people, so the drop in the unemployment rate was not due to people giving up on looking for work.
– Revisions shows stronger summer job growth. The number of jobs created in both July and August were revised up, adding a total of 86,000 jobs.
– Public sector finally stopped shedding jobs. State, local, and federal government finally ended a long period of job contraction, adding 10,000 jobs. Revisions show that the public sector created jobs in both July and August.
– Average hourly earnings rise. Earnings rose 7 cents to $23.58. Average hourly earnings have risen by 1.8 percent over the last year.
Of course, one month’s report does not make for a good economy, but the three-month average for job growth hit 145,000, a sign of a recovering labor market (albeit, one that is recovering slowly). Overall, the economy has added 1.3 million jobs this year.
The unemployment rate would be under 7 percent without public sector jobs cuts, while the American Jobs Act that Republicans filibustered in Congress would have added millions of jobs, according to economists.
Conservatives, in the apparent belief that good news for the American economy means bad news for their prospects in next month’s elections, immediately seized on the news to allege a vast conspiracy of data-rigging at the BLS — a scrupulously non-political entity. This dovetails with the recent right-wing conspiracy theory that America’s pollsters are working in collusion the media to rig the polls in President Obama’s favor in order to depress GOP turnout.
Check out this post by ThinkProgress’ Aviva Shen to see which conservatives are peddling their newest conspiracy theory.
BOTTOM LINE: We have more to do, but today’s jobs news shows that we are on the road to recovery and can’t afford to go back to the same policies that crashed the economy in the first place.
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