James Pethokoukis

The infamous White House jobs chart

September 8, 2011

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.

Obama vs. Perry on jobs

August 17, 2011

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:

Can Obama’s 2012 hopes survive 9%+ unemployment?

August 5, 2011

After looking at today’s anemic unemployment report, Goldman Sachs drops this H-bomb on the Obama campaign:

[Chart] The unemployment rate they don’t want you to know about

July 11, 2011

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:

The horrendous June jobs report

July 8, 2011

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:

The U.S. jobs gap

July 5, 2011

This chart from the Heritage Foundation kind of says it all:

The long, slow slog back to full employment

June 28, 2011

A neat chart from the Council on Foreign Relations:

And the explanation. At least one of them:

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.

Digging down into America’s weak labor market

June 20, 2011

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:

Oh yeah, that was a lousy jobs report

June 6, 2011

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.

Obama 2012 and the May jobs report

June 3, 2011

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.