Here’s a lesson on messaging: when we’ve had three sub-par jobs reports in a row, the phrase “I’m pretty happy” should never escape the lips of surrogates on either side of the political spectrum. Yesterday, Debbie Wasserman Schultz tried to put a positive spin on the employment situation while appearing on Fox News, and fell into a trap of her own making:
The DNC chair tried trotting out the White House line that claims that we have had 28 straight months of jobs growth, but again, that number is deceptive. First, they took it from the middle of the recovery (February 2010) rather than the start (June 2009, four months after the stimulus bill went into effect), ignoring more than 1.3 million jobs lost in the first eight months of the Obama recovery. The White House has claimed to have added 4.3 million from that later point, but BLS data shows that the number is actually 3.75 million. That averages out to 134,000 a month, which may not even keep up with population growth — as even Robert Reich pointed out last week:
Unemployment for June is stuck at 8.2 percent, the same as in May. And only 80,000 new jobs were added.
Remember, 125,000 news jobs are needed just to keep up with the increase in the population of Americans who need jobs. That means the jobs situation continues to worsen.
Some economists put that number at 150,000, which would mean that even with the artificial start point, the Obama recovery simply isn’t keeping pace. Using the actual recovery start date makes that point even more clear. In the 37 months since the recovery, we have added 2.412 million jobs, for an average monthly jobs-added rate of 65,200, half or less of what we need to keep up with population growth.
How can anyone be “happy” with that kind of job creation rate? Only those with a vested interest in the status quo can possibly consider this a happy situation. Unfortunately for Wasserman Schultz and Barack Obama, most Americans have a vested interest in changing the status quo.