Home > Political Ranting > July Job Numbers a Dismal 32,000; May and June Numbers Revised Downward

July Job Numbers a Dismal 32,000; May and June Numbers Revised Downward

August 6th, 2004

After a few months of tepid job growth, the Bush administration tried to paint the economy as “recovering”–in fact, they tried to say that it was great, never better. In June, the number of new jobs dropped to 112,000, way below what anyone would consider “strong,” and in fact, was below the 150,000 new jobs required simply to keep up with population growth. Republicans countered that this was only a blip, that June was artificially low, and that July numbers would prove the recovery was truly back. Nevertheless, they only projected 220,000 jobs for July, as high as possible to make things seem rosy, as few as possible so as not to look bad if numbers were not really too high. But some hopeful estimates were for as many as 300,000 new jobs.

Well, the July numbers are now out. How many new jobs?


Not only that, but revised estimates for May and June revealed that those months actually added 61,000 fewer jobs than was previously estimated. Therefore, relative to job numbers assumed true last month, there was negative job growth of 29,000. It turns out that May increased by 208,000 jobs (as opposed to 242,000), and June by only 78,000 (as opposed to 112,000).

This means that total job growth over the past three months has been, on average, only 106,000 per month, a great deal lower than what is necessary to cancel out population growth–and it is most definitely on a downward trend.

It will be extraordinarily hard to support any statement that claims we are in a “recovery.”

This is what the Bush administration’s tax cuts for the wealthy has wrought. And please don’t try to tell me about any tax cuts for the middle class, there haven’t been any; after skyrocketing fuel costs, lower and lower wages and salaries, rising local taxes and the cutting of services, in addition to all the other costs due to Bush policies, whatever money you got back from the government has long since been sucked right back out of your pocket–and as a result, the economy remains stagnant. This is not the way to go.

What we need is to have a president who will not throw hundreds of billions of dollars (as well as a thousand soldier’s lives) into an unnecessary war, who will allow corporate greed and job exportation to go unchecked, who will continue to take money from the poor and funnel it to the rich. We need someone who will provide for good health care instead of sacrificing it so that drug companies can make even more obscene profits. We need someone who will not throw boatloads of cash at energy companies who are already flush at the expense paid by the average Joe, but instead have energy policy written for the people, not the energy corps. We need a president who will give tax breaks to people who need them, and who will roll back welfare-for-the-wealthy and use those billions and trillions to pay for good education (the best-payment investment for the future!) and good health care. We need a president who will give companies tax breaks for keeping good jobs here, instead of giving tax breaks to corporations that send them overseas. And we need a president who does not encourage or even allow corporations to make a huge profit and then pay no taxes by having a P.O. Box in the Cayman Islands.

Four more years of Bush will not only prolong this recession, it will also depress whatever natural recovery comes along, a recovery that even just without any action would have been here in truth already.

The only way to really recover is to get Kerry into office, evident not only by his clear-cut and rational plans (or download their book, “Our Plan for America,” a 1.36 MB PDF file), but also by the historical fact that Democratic presidents always deliver the jobs.

Quick Update: Hugh over at DAJ commented that if you want a new job nowadays, try out for prison guard: 2 million Americans are now in jail, and despite losing so many manufacturing jobs, Bush created at least 206,000 new prison guard positions–probably more, since that last number was a 2002 stat.

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  1. August 6th, 2004 at 23:37 | #1

    That’s not quite the whole story. Even with the disappointing job growth in July, it still marked the 11th month in a row that the economy added jobs. Manufacturers, after cutting 1,000 jobs in June, added 10,000 in July. Also, consumer confidence surged in August to its highest level since the beginning of the year despite fresh terror threats and surging oil prices.

    In addition, the number of people filing for initial jobless aid fell 11,000 last week, as the pace of layoffs slowed and the job market brightened. This is a larger drop than predicted. A Labor Department spokesman said the drop in new claims was not due to special factors and likely reflected an end to the volatility normally experienced in July (HINT: July is typically a very volitile month for employment numbers). The number of people who continue to collect unemployment benefits also dropped 35,000 to 2.91 million in the July 24 week. So maybe July’s numbers are hard to use outside of the context of the overall year? Cherry picking a data point as proof of the trend is no proof at all.

    So while the number of jobs created did not grow very well, the number of unemployed still managed a healthy decline. The economy is on a solid growth path but the labor market recovery has been spotty. This is expected. When a recession occurs, employment is the last to be affected. When the recovery occurs, employment is still the last to be affected.

  2. Luis
    August 7th, 2004 at 05:03 | #2

    Talk about cherry-picking! I’m simply referring to the main indicator that everyone uses–especially the Bush administration when the numbers are favorable.

    The 11-month streak is deceptive–it has been anemic at best, and averaged out, it falls tens of thousands of jobs per month below the number needed to keep up with the population growth.

    As to the 10,000 new manufacturing jobs gained in July: a pittance compared to the three million lost since Bush took office. All he has to do is add another 2.99 million and he’ll be back on track! Ohio, a key battleground state, for example, has lost more than 160,000 manufacturing jobs since 2001. Thus your pronouncements of consumer confidence will be certain to cheer them up in time for the election. And that confidence rating is purely perception, and has far less impact on people’s lives than, say, actually having a job or getting paid enough to live off of. If you’re trying to say that Bush is succeeding in making people feel like there’s a recovery, then maybe you have something.

    As for the small drop in people filing for initial jobless aid, Drew Matus, senior financial economist at Lehman Brothers in New York told Reuters “It’s a slight improvement but really meaningless in the overall context of things.” Nice try, though.

    As for July being volatile, that’s exactly what they said about June when the numbers sucked for that month, too. When I hear a seasoned economist telling me that, I’ll listen; when it’s a Bush flunky, I take it with a grain of salt. And even if June and July are both usually volatile, it still does not prove that the low numbers were caused by volatility–and remember, volatility goes both ways–meaning that the June and July figures, if volatile, could just as easily be volatile in the other direction, meaning job loss would be even greater.

    All told, your argument–while seemingly impressive at first glance–falls apart rather quickly. As I said, though, nice try–you should get a job with the Bush press office. It might be hard, after all, getting one somewhere else.

  3. Enumclaw
    August 8th, 2004 at 04:22 | #3

    I find it interesting that Bush apologists never address the notion that the economy has to add, minimum, 150K jobs EACH MONTH just to keep up with population growth.

    I’d like to see some discussion of that factoid- Luis throws it out pretty much every time this topic comes up, and while it makes common sense that in a growing population you’re going to need a steady increase in the # of jobs just to keep up with all those kids turning 18 (or 22) and hitting the job market, I wonder if the number is really 150K, or more, or less…

    But no matter how you cut it, the job market these days in America sucks.

    No matter how you cut it, Bush’s fiscal policies have riddled us with billions- no, over a trillion dollars, and rapidly rising each day- in new debt.

    (For contrast, Clinton’s policies had us actually paying DOWN the debt.)

    Fiscally, the Bush Administration has been an almost utter and complete disaster.


  4. Enumclaw
    August 8th, 2004 at 04:29 | #4

    Oh yeah, one other thought- I was under the impression that whenever the various agencies did their jobs reports that they were *seasonally corrected*- meaning that any “volatility” in the numbers was already corrected for when they crank the numbers out.

    Is that not true? I mean, “seasonally adjusted” appears right across the top of Luis’ linked BLS document.

    I went to the actual jobs report released by the BLS (at http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm) and had a little trouble discerning whether the numbers are adjusted or not. Some of the numbers in the report are adjusted, some are not, and I can’t tell if the 32,000 number (as opposed to the 250 to 300 thousand that some were rumoring about) is seasonally adjusted.


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