Friday, June 4, 2010

May Job Numbers

I don't have much to add to Ezra. The top-line number hides a depressing situation. The only thing I would add is that there's a silver lining of strong growth wherever it is; it will be somewhat stimulative. Even though these new jobs are temporary and government, they still allow those 400k census workers to spend money and add a teeny bit of aggregate demand. Won't be enough to replace those 400k jobs with private jobs over the next months, though, I expect.

Not a good sign.


  1. There is plenty too add to Ezras spotty and stunted analysis. A close look at the BLS numbers shows an actual decrease of 35,000 people employed and a decrease of 322,000 participants in the civilian labor force. The Participation rate decreased by %0.2 and the employment-population ratio decreased by %0.1. Ezra may not want to criticize Mr. Obama, and I would rather not, either, but the time is fast approaching when even it will be unavoidable. No matter what Big Joe says.

  2. Oh, I agree it's bad. I wrote in both my previous posts on the monthly job numbers that more stimulus is needed. I tend to blame congress and the Fed more than Obama for this.

    Is there any evidence to suggest that he would be able to get meaningful stimulus passed through congress by using his bully pulpit? So far, I would say no. The very small jobs packages that have gone through congress keep getting slashed further by Blue Dogs and Republicans in the name of fiscal responsibility. I'm all for balanced budgets, but right now we need to get the economy and jobs situation in order.

    Obama could lean on Bernanke to get the Fed to expand its balance sheet, but he has no real power over the Fed. They're pretty obsessed with the specter of inflation, as always, and seem unwilling to loosen monetary policy.

    As with the oil spill, he could yell more. But I'm not sure what it would accomplish.