Much more worse than I expected

U.S. economy added 32,000 jobs in July

This isn’t so good. At all.

Last night I predicted that today’s jobs report was going to come in at least 20% under the predictions of 220,000 new jobs in July. I based my careful, scientifically-calculated figure based on the fact that MSNBC was covering it the night before.

Well, I guess ‘85% lower’ is ‘at least 20% lower’, so I was right. Nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeah, nyeahhhhh.

Here is my table updated with the latest figures:


For an explanation of the table, see last night’s post. I also updated the May and June preliminary figures (both down, not up like I expected) . June will be updated to the final figure in next month’s report.

No matter what Bush and the Republicans say about this, this is not good for them. The unemployment rate dropped to 5.5% from 5.6%, but no one can look at 32,000 new jobs in July, compared to an average of 125,000 per year for the past 25 years, and feel good about it.

What’s bad for Bush, of course, is good for Kerry. But he won’t benefit a lot from this because no one knows what he intends to do about the economy or employment. If he had outlined his vision and referenced some strong, specific parts of his economic agenda, he could now take a stand on Bush’s less-than-stellar recovery.

But he hasn’t done anything of the sort, and so he’ll be left making vague points about how bad of a job Bush is doing and how he’ll do much, much better. Just don’t ask him what he’ll do or how he’ll do it. And because of this, I don’t think Kerry will really see any gain due to the poor July job report.

UPDATE: Bush told folks in New Hampshire that the economy is moving forward, and he’s right. But he should not even try to spin the jobs report into something good.

For his part, Bush allowed that more needs to be done. ā€œIā€™m not going to be satisfied until everybody who wants to work can find a job,ā€ Bush told cheering supporters at a picnic in New Hampshire, where recent polls show him tied with Kerry.

That’s a start, but defending the job creation over the past two months can’t be pulled off. The year’s total is good, and it’s fair to point that out. Many other economic indicators show continuing improvement, and it’s fair to point that out.

But even hinting that the June and July job growth numbers are anything other than severely disappointing is sure to bring broadsides from across the aisle.

UPDATE 2: I put together this table by importing BLS data into Excel and adding some fields. Upon reviewing it for a follow-up post, I’ve caught a formula error. It has been corrected and the table reposted. My apologies.