Using a handy graphic found in Mitt Romney’s economic plan, I’ve updated the Bernstein-Romer jobs chart from 2009 while also incorporating (in green) Wall Street bank forecasts (Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan) of where the unemployment rate might be headed.
All kinds of numbers have been flying around comparing President Barack Obama’s jobs record vs. Gov. Rick Perry’s. The employment number most people know is the unemployment rate. The most recent state numbers, through June, put the Texas unemployment rate at 8.2 percent. The national unemployment rate that month was 9.2 percent, worse but not dramatically so. But that is the U-3 rate, and it does not include discouraged workers. Here is how the Labor Department describes things:
The official U.S. unemployment rate is 9.2 percent. But what if that rate was adjusted just for all the discouraged folks who’ve dropped out of the labor force during the past few years? It would be over 11 percent. (And over 16 percent if you counted the underemployed.) This chart from JPMorgan makes the point:
When economists are expecting 100,000 or so net new jobs, and the Labor Department reports measly gains of just 18,000 (plus an increase in the unemployment rate to 9.2 percent), the reaction sounds like this:
A neat chart from the Council on Foreign Relations:
The shape of U.S. labor market declines and recoveries—as measured by the current level of employment relative to the prior peak—has changed dramatically over the past two decades. From the 1940s through the 1970s, they exhibited a V-shape of sharp declines and rapid recoveries, as seen in the chart above. By the 1990s they took on a U-shape, signifying longer, persistent unemployment.
The main reason the unemployment rate is so high is that the recession was so deep and the economic “recovery” is so anemic. But part of the problem may be a mismatch between job opening and the skills of unemployed workers. Here is WaPo’s Robert Samuelson:
My pal Tim Kane at Growthology lays it all out:
— The unemployment rate is now 9.1 percent, up from 8.8 percent two months ago. That’s important. Although research shows the U rate is more reliable than the payroll employment numbers over the long term, it might still suffer from a one month blip due to turnover in the survey sample. But a second increase in two months all but nails the coffin shut. By that I mean that the U.S. is experiencing if not a double recession then a historically stagnant recovery.
I don’t think the terrible May jobs report means the Obama presidency is doomed anymore than I thought the killing of OBL meant re-election was in the bag. But another 18 months of economic muddling through – high unemployment, stagnant wages, dead housing, slow GDP growth – would certainly make the GOP nomination one worth winning. Like REALLY worth winning – let’s put it that way. And the history of economies after bank crises show the “muddling though” scenario is a common one.