Jobs report “steady but uninspiring”

(Sorry, the site went down for a short bit.)

The very good news is that the December jobs numbers were revised upwards from 155,000 to 196,000. The fourth quarter was fairly strong, with around 200,000 jobs per month being generated in the US.

The January numbers are okay, but nothing particularly special at 157,000 new jobs (because our population is growing every day, you need about this money jobs created per month just to break even). Though I wonder if that number will also be revised upward as I sense that many companies picked up hiring in the US after the holidays. The downside to the report was that unemployment climbed slightly from 7.8% to 7.9%.

With the Republicans still playing games and pretending as though they won in November, the economy is hardly out of the woods. It’s an unfortunate reality that the GOP is more focused on disrupting the economy and spewing out nonsense than focusing on creating jobs.

NY Times:

Jobs via Shutterstock

Jobs via Shutterstock

Retail, construction, health care and the wholesale trade sector added positions, while the government again shed jobs. Government payrolls have been shrinking almost every month over the last four years.

The monthly jobs numbers were close to what economists had forecast, although many had been hoping for an upside surprise. Recent weeks have brought a slew of gloomy economic data, showing that the nation’s output unexpectedly shrank at the end of 2012 and that consumers were becoming increasingly pessimistic about their finances and job prospects.

Dysfunction in Washington over the fiscal budget and higher tax rates that kicked in last month could further dampen consumer confidence and hiring early this year.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • Bill_Perdue

    The jobs report is good news compared with the months in 2007-09 when we were shedding jobs but otherwise it’s not a sign of recovery from the Clinton Depression.

    Neither is the steady drop in real wages, the growth of temporary jobs or the millions underemployed, working 20-30 hours a week with minimum wages and zip benefits.

    There is not recovery except for the rich and that is the result of the bi-artisan criminality of the Democrats and Republicans who both engage in union busting and whose attitude towards the unemployed, homeless and those in poverty is one of criminal malign neglect.

  • AnitaMann

    Meanwhile, here in socal, the media breathlessly report double digit price increases for houses. Whoo hoo. The bubble is coming back! No decent jobs, but hey if you have a house, don’t worry. Just watch it rise, cash out another heloc, repeat. Party on Wayne! Party on Garth!

  • nicho

    Now, if only those numbers bore any connection to reality, it would be encouraging news. When the government uses Enron-style accounting to come up with the job numbers, you’re an idiot if you place any credence at all in them.

  • Ford Prefect

    It’s sad that his Personal Greatness has to come at the expense of everyone who can’t line his pockets with valuable cash and prizes. FDR had Personal Greatness too, but the 99% all benefitted from it. Go figure.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I’m thinking it’s already happened.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Well, yanno, according to chained-CPI, that’s exactly what you’re supposed to do: Keep degrading your standard of living, which the gov’t is redefining as holding steady. When dog food becomes too expensive, I guess we can switch to cattle feed.

    In other news, I hear the choco ration is going up to 20 grams.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Our first black president might have set the highest bar for personal greatness in American history, but instead he is a weak imitation of Clinton and that bar was waaaaaay down low.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    You are so right! We have fallen so low that most don’t realize that Democracy is weakened beyond redemption. If you get a chance watch the Charlie Rose interview with Al Gore. It’s dynamite. It’s my guess the next decade will look like the Oligarch takeover that happened in the Old Soviet Union.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Cut my hours by 20%, but that $8.50 and hours stills buys dog food. The cat food has gone up.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    So instead of expiring rapidly as we were during the Dubya Debacle Years, the 99% are back to starving slowly, as numbers are published to make it look like the unemployment rate is slowly improving, albeit “not as fast as some would like.” This isn’t recovery. It’s stagnation.

    In the last Great Depression, we had a President and a Congress (well, most of ‘em) who understood that to help get the country out of it, we needed massive jobs programs. Put people to work doing just about anything, so they’d have money in their pockets, which they’d then spend and help push the machinery of the American economy back into motion again. It was also understood that regular folks drive the economy, through having a decent income and prospects for improvement.

    Once, there was serious talk about both the possibility and indeed the moral imperative for us, America, the richest nation on the planet, to eliminate poverty. Now look at us. Look at how far we’ve fallen.

    Instead we have the New Austerian Party, heavily represented by members of both of the old political parties, who believe the best solution is to throw sand in the gears and find ways to make the rich even richer — the HyperWealthy class, whose first move is to expatriate their plundered loot and use a tiny fraction of it to ensure the government(s) they purchased stay that way.

  • Ford Prefect

    Um, neither party is serious about creating jobs. If the Dems were, you’d think we’d be hearing about that, instead of empty rhetoric about deficits, austerity, tax cuts and so forth. So the economic sabotage taking place is well within the Washington Consensus and is thusly a bi-partisan position, as it has been for a couple decades now.

    As for these numbers, only the BLS knows how many of these “jobs” were “created” inside the black box known as the Birth/Death Model. So there’s that. There’s also the fact that the real unemployment rate is closer to 20% than 8%. There is more than enough reason to doubt these figures, although the revisions should be more accurate.

    Setting the bar at “better than Bush” means having to dig a six foot trench in which to place the bar. That isn’t saying much either, is it?

    One of the reasons why no one in Washington feels any need to do anything positive for the economy is because both parties supporters seem all too content to go along with the status quo. The make-believe partisanship on this count does wonders for the politicians who seek to create as much poverty as possible without looking too bad in the process. And make no mistake about it, all this austerity nonsense is about economic sabotage and nothing else. That’s how you reorder a society along vastly different lines than the previous version.

    It’s all fine and good to have a field day on the GOP’s toxic agenda. But not addressing the fact that the Dems have the Senate and the White House lends the appearance of a GOP dictatorship and we know that isn’t the case. Of course, this line of rhetoric was also in fashion when the Dems had both houses and the WH. It’s amazing how powerless the majority party is when that party is the Democratic Party.

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