After a long period of stagnation, job creation finally surged ahead in March, the government reported yesterday. The gains surpassed all but the most optimistic expectations among analysts and provided President Bush with a shot of good news to help counter Democratic attacks on his economic policies.The economy added 308,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department estimated, pulling out of a pattern of tepid employment growth to clock the largest number of new jobs in a single month since April 2000. (emphasis added)
The Labor Dept estimated? Am I wrong or is this another one of Junior’s incredibly lucky weeks? I mean, here he has been taking a beating over the job losses during his Administration for weeks from Kerry, and now the very first numbers available show that over 300,000 new jobs were created. What perfect timing! And Junior’s not even Irish!
The NY Times is having conniptions over a Bush Admin estimate? “Well, Jeez, alright, if the Government says so… I mean, it’s not like they ever got any numbers wrong before, and it’s not as if we ever caught them lying, or anything, so we’ll just take their word for it, shall we? Their word is GOOD ENOUGH FOR US!” Am I the only who thinks it’s a tad obscene for the media to be accepting the announcement of yet another set of convenient numbers so readily–and gullibly–from an administration with the sorry history this one has? Has any “estimate” the BA lauded in the last 3 years turned out to be accurate?
Don’t you think somebody might, at this point, say to themselves, “Golly, I’m a smart reporter, I work for one of the biggest newspapers in the world, and dang iffin’ I din’t notice that every time the Prez needs a ratings boost one o’ his departments comes up with a piece o’ good news an’ some healthy numbers, and then a week later, when everybody forgot about it, it turns out the numbers was either phony or a fluke. Gee, maybe I orta look into this, huh? Lessee, who’s thuh Labor Secretary? Oh yeah–Elaine Chow, a right-wing ideologue and a corporate shill. Gee, you don’t think she coulda made these numbers up, do yah?”
Or am I asking too much? Doesn’t the press ever get tired of being used like TP by this Admin? Doesn’t their almost total lack of credibility bother them? I mean, they’ve fallen for every single number the Rove/Bartlett Duopoly has thrown at them–no matter how absurd, no matter how big an anomaly, no matter how convenient the timing is, no matter how often those numbers turned out to be cooked, wrong, invented, made up out of whole cloth, they’ve swallowed it whole and burped, “Thank you, sir, may I have another?” Do they have no shame? Are they stoopid? Both? “Um, last month–21,000 jobs, all in govt, and Shrub gits beat up. Now, this month, 308,000 jobs, and he’s a hero. Hmmmmm…”
Sheesh. Well, the NYT covers itself in (reflected) glory once again. Karl rings a bell and they bark. And no matter how often he does it, they…never…make…the connection.
Hey, Porter! Ever heard of Pavlov?
Update, 4pm: I’m getting confused again. The NYT says the jobs number is an estimate but CAP says it’s a hard number from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. So which is it? It’s still awfully convenient. Is the BLS “in the loop” now and cooking numbers like the rest of the BA? Hard to say. Either way, it is likely not the unadulterated good news it seems to be. For one thing, despite the growth, unemployment is up.
WASHINGTON – After months of dismal job growth, the nation’s employers dusted off their help-wanted signs in March and added workers at the quickest pace in four years, swelling payrolls by 308,000.Even so, the unemployment rate inched up a tenth of a point to 5.7 percent as more people were encouraged to start looking for work again but failed to find jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.
For another, most of the jobs created last month were part-time.
[E]conomists remained cautious.”It is too early to celebrate,” said Sung Won Sohn, chief economist at Wells Fargo in Minneapolis.
He noted that most of the increase was because of part-time workers. The number of people who worked part time for economic reasons rose to 4.7 million in March, up from 4.4 million the previous month.
“The average duration of unemployment has been lengthening, persuading unemployed workers to accept part-time jobs,” Sohn said.
In March, there were 8.35 million people unemployed, compared with 8.17 million the previous month. The average duration of unemployment has been more than 20 weeks, a 20-year high.
Technical factors also contributed to the overall hiring increase, Sohn said. Good weather helped boost employment in construction, which rose by 71,000 last month. The end of a strike by California grocery workers was a big factor in the increase in retailers’ payrolls, which were up by 47,000.
These one-month shots-in-the-arm have happened before, though not often (The last time more jobs were added than subtracted was in March of 2000), and so far corporations have settled down after every one of them to dump more work on the employees they already have rather than keep the growth going. Will this one be different? Or just another flash-in-the-pan?