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Friday, October 2, 2009

The Veep Backtracks, Sort Of...

After Joe Biden’s widely reported endorsement of the stimulus’ success late last week, one would assume the Administration was expecting some good news from today’s employment numbers.

Unfortunately for 263,000 Americans, and now 9.8% of the workforce, that was not the case. The AP reports:
If the recession really is ending, someone forgot to tell the nation's employers. A net total of 263,000 jobs vanished from the economy last month — much worse than economists' expectation of 180,000 job losses.

The Labor Department figures set the stage for a scenario that labor analysts expect: that joblessness will continue to rise for several months or more after the economy starts to rebound.
The unemployment rate stands at 9.8 percent, a 26-year high. The rate would have been higher if 571,000 people hadn't dropped out of the labor force, which many did in frustration over failing to find jobs.

That leaves 15.1 million Americans out of work, a huge pool of people. Many discouraged workers are likely to re-enter the labor market and compete for jobs that will eventually be created.
And VP Biden’s response, as reported by Fox News:
Vice President Joe Biden, speaking glumly from the White House from note cards, could barely hide his disappointment at today's unemployment report showing 263,000 jobs lost in September and a jobless rate rising to 9.8 percent.

"We knew all along the recovery was going to take a long time," said Biden, sitting in the Roosevelt room with top economic advisers Christina Romer, Larry Summers and budget director Peter Orszag. "We inherited an awful lot of baggage and we knew the recovery would come in fits and starts and job creation would be the last element to come into place. Those are the realities we live with."

Biden said quarterly job loses have fallen from an average of 700,000 in the 1st quarter to 250,000 in the third quarter.

"But less bad is not our measure of success," Biden said. "One job loss is one job to many. There's still too much pain."

Biden said the stimulus has, "by some estimates, saved or created 1 million jobs."
In fact, the economy has lost 2.7 million jobs since the stimulus passed. Moreover, this number doesn’t accurately account for the folks who have given up the job hunt and are thus no longer counted in the typical measure of the unemployed - meaning even more people are out of work than these already dismal numbers represent.

The Administration has yet to explain this four million job disparity.

And now, the newest version of the chart the must haunt the Administration at the start of each month:

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