Man Without Qualities

Friday, September 03, 2004

The New York Times v. The New York Stock Exchange? II

OOPS! Looks like the equities markets beat out the write-it-and-they-will-come effort at the Times - which has purged last night's hilariously tendentious front page "report" on something that hadn't happened and never would happen, Jobless Figures on Friday Could Emphasize Bush's Big Weakness, in favor of today's sober U.S. Economy Added 144,000 Jobs in August from Reuters. It's as though Mr. Stevenson, the author of yesterday's analysis of a mythical gloomy jobs report that never happened, just used up all his energy on last night's creative writing project - and therefore just had to leave the reporting of the actual job numbers that were released a few hours later to the Reuters "news" service. One empathizes with this hard and late scribing spinner-without-a-story. One feels his pain!

That much over reported and analysed preliminary 32,000 July payroll employment gain has now been revised upward to a modest but respectable 73,000. Most importantly, the unemployment rate - the real unemployment rate, the one with the historical correlation to political effects - fell to 5.4 percent. Bill Clinton entered the year 1996 with the exact same unemployment rate George W. Bush entered 2004 with — 5.6 percent, and Clinton was reelected in November 1996 with a 5.4-percent unemployment rate. That means the Democrats and Herr Doktorprofessor Paul Von Krugman will have to work overtime to "explain" why the voting public shouldn't focus on the unemp-loyment rate, but on some ad hoc measure of employment or economic well being of their construction - such as the Kerry-Edwards ludicrous and pseudo-scientific "middle class misery index."

One should also expect these jobs numbers to add substantially to the Republican post-Convention "bounce."

Here's today's story from the Senate Joint Economic Committee (JEC):

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced today that 144,000 new payroll jobs were created during the month of August. According to the household survey, which is used to calculate the unemployment rate, employment increased by 21,000 and unemployment fell by 174,000. The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent. Payroll employment gains for July and June were also revised upward by a total of 59,000. Manufacturing added 22,000 payroll jobs in August. Over the past year, nearly 1.7 million new payroll jobs have been created; over 1.4 million new payroll jobs have been created thus far in 2004.


144,000 new payroll jobs were created in August. Since August 2003, nearly 1.7 million new payroll jobs have been created.

Manufacturing added 22,000 new payroll jobs in August. 97,000 new manufacturing payroll jobs have been created in 2004.

The unemployment rate fell to 5.4 percent, well below its recent peak of 6.3 percent last June, and below the average unemployment rates of the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Payroll employment gains for July and June were revised upwards. July payroll employment gains were revised upward to 73,000 from 32,000, and June gains were revised upward to 96,000 from 78,000.

Payroll jobs gains over the past year have been broad-based, with 9 out of 10 major private sector industries adding new jobs since August 2003.


1.7 Million New Jobs Since August 2003

Unemployment Rate Declining

How Many New Jobs?

UPDATE: The Times now has its own story, which has replaced the Reuter's weeper. But poor Mr. Stevenson didn't get to write it. Perhaps he was up too late last night writing that story about a mythical gloomy jobs report never happened - or maybe he's just too traumatised by the implications of the actual report.

FURTHER UPDATE: Mr. Stevenson is back! His new article is essentially his old article turned inside out: Job Figures Help President Promote Economic Record.

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