Former Obama economic adviser on jobs report: What did you expect from our measly growth rate?

posted at 12:41 pm on August 3, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

How goes the post-jobs report spin for Barack Obama, his administration, and Democrats in general?  After all, the number of jobs added (163,000) wasn’t bad, especially considering that the previous three months averaged only half of that number.  One might expect apologists for the Obama White House to hail that number as “a step in the right direction,” the facepalm claim from Obama himself after a lousy jobs report for June. One might expect that even from someone who used to work for President Obama on the very economic policies that puts us in position to think of a treading-water job-creation level as relatively good news.  However, Austan Goolsbee dispensed with the spin on CNBC earlier today, arguing that this was as good as we could expect from our “measly” growth rate:

Jim Pethokoukis gives us some gloomy context for today’s report:

– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

– The broader U-6 unemployment rate, which includes “all persons marginally attached to the labor force, plus total employed part time for economic reasons,” ticked up to 15.0%.

– Two years ago, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wrote his now-infamous “Welcome to the Recovery” op-ed for the New York Times. During those two years, the economy has added an average of just 137,000 jobs a month.

– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

Here’s another fun fact: today’s 8.3% jobless rate is exactly what it was in February 2009, when Obama got his $838 billion stimulus package.  At that point, the civilian participation rate in the workforce was 65.8%.  Today’s was 63.7%.  In February 2009, we had 80.392 million people not participating in the workforce; as of July, that number has grown by almost eight million people, to 88.34 million, which took 42 months to grow.  The time it took previous to February 2009 to add eight million to those not in the workforce was 92 months, more than double the amount of time.

National Journal calls the report “a heavy dose of Nothing Changed” in the presidential campaign:

The report showed the economy added 163,000 net jobs last month, per the Labor Department’s survey of business payrolls; a separate survey of households showed nearly 200,000 job losses, pushing the unemployment rate up from 8.2 percent to 8.3 percent. Read those numbers thus: The economy is very slowly healing; the pace of recovery isn’t picking up; and, with a big caveat about Europe, we don’t look headed back toward recession anytime soon. …

It looks increasingly likely, three months from Election Day, that this is the economic picture that will stick in voters’ minds when they select their next president. It does not appear to be the sort of picture that will tip the election either to President Obama or his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney. A late-summer surge in hiring might have given an edge to the incumbent. A return to recession would be lifting the challenger.

Instead, the race is a dead heat in most national polls. Weak growth and persistently high unemployment remain the fundamental reasons Obama could lose re-election. But the data suggest that weakness, by itself, might not be enough to put Romney over the top.

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reminded the Wall Street Journal of the two-year anniversary of Tim Geithner’s “Welcome to the Recovery!” opinion piece in the New York Times :

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell highlighted an op-ed  by Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner published exactly two years ago as evidence that the Obama administration’s economic policies have failed.

The op-ed, entitled “Welcome to the Recovery,” appeared in the New York Times, and said the U.S. “suffered a terrible blow, but we are coming back.” It detailed a number of strains still facing the economy, but said “the actions we took at its height to stimulate the economy helped arrest the freefall, preventing an even deeper collapse and putting the economy on the road to recovery.” …

“Well, I think it’s pretty obvious that the Treasury secretary jumped the gun on that one,” Mr. McConnell said Thursday. The Kentucky Republican added: “Secretary Geithner was right to say that the president’s policies were having an effect on the economy. He was clearly wrong to conclude they were anything approaching a lasting, positive effect.”

If today’s remarks by Obamanomics architect Austan Goolsbee are any indication, that looks increasingly like a consensus opinion.

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No green shoots? Just some drought damaged nubbins, eh?

a capella on August 3, 2012 at 12:46 PM

The BLS made the largest statistical adjustment for July in a decade to arrive at 163,000 jobs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/seasonal-and-birth-death-adjustments-add-429000-statistical-jobs

Wigglesworth on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Obama built this failure- hat tip.

hillsoftx on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Who names their kid “Austan Goolsbee”. C’mon.

(is a good name for a political eunuch, though…)

Jeddite on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Has Goolsbee been mugged by reality?

Professor_Chaos on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

More ambiguity on the economy, and possibly in Sept & Oct we will have better growth with the unemployment rate going down. Then, the centerpiece of our campaign becomes small indeed, and O waltzes easily to victory. Consider basing the campaign on larger more profound issues, like the out of control govt, than the economy alone.

Arguably, the gay militancy issue, where O’s position is now clear, has greater vote bringing impact than the economy. The evidence? Look at the Rasmussen tracker of O’s Approval. Just when the Chick-Fil-A story is topping the news, over the last 2 days O’s approval has dropped from -5 to -9. More significant, those that “Strongly Approve” has dropped to a near all time low of 22% (from 26% two days ago), and those that “Strongly Disapprove” have risen to 45%.

anotherJoe on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

New normal. Get used to it. Lower your expectations, rubes.

Philly on August 3, 2012 at 12:48 PM

In other words, the Obama precedency has been a 4 year long version of “Opposite Day”.

AubieJon on August 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM

It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

unstinkingbelievable….

cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Plenty has changed, TFGRP’s union thug allies have become richer thanks to the stimucrap spending.

Bishop on August 3, 2012 at 12:52 PM

The op-ed, entitled “Welcome to the Recovery,” appeared in the New York Times, and said the U.S. “suffered a terrible blow, but we are coming back.” It detailed a number of strains still facing the economy, but said “the actions we took at its height to stimulate the economy helped arrest the freefall, preventing an even deeper collapse and putting the economy on the road to recovery.” …

Two years later this same man would say “We don’t have a plan

BobMbx on August 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The only good I can make of this bs is that poeple read/hear it and know it is not true.
It wasn’t true before. And it is not true now.

Jabberwock on August 3, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I actually enjoy listening to Goolsbee. He seems like a fair and decent guy, unlike the rest of the Chicago thugs. He’s no bomb thrower and is always measured in his talking points.

kevinkristy on August 3, 2012 at 12:55 PM

I am so sick and tired of the media bending over backwards to spin these reports in the most favorable light for Obama. And I’m sick and tired of Obama talking about jobs as if they are units and not people. How many people’s lives have been turned upside down these last three years as Obama has experiemented and bullied his socialist dogma on our free capital system.

The filthy bastard needs to go.

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2012 at 12:55 PM

….I saw 3 interviews with this poor guy…heeeeeeeesss not wrapped too tight and he looked like he was in pain!

KOOLAID2 on August 3, 2012 at 12:56 PM

No one is going to add new employees between now and the election unless they absolutely have no other means to fill orders or run their business. Businesses will hire to replace turn-over or retirements but smart business owners will continue in their ‘holding pattern’ waiting to see if Romney can pull out the win or not. 2013 could be a huge year for job growth, stock market growth and home values if Romney is elected. If obama wins a second term, well, …not so much

HoosierStateofMind on August 3, 2012 at 12:57 PM

George W. Bush really left them in a terrible situation. But in 4 more years they’ll have our economy running like a Swiss watch!! NOT!

Deano1952 on August 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

It’s just in a holding pattern until after the election… Then, Barry can pull out all the stops and sink this economy for real for real…

RalphyBoy on August 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM

What kind of growth do you expect while Romney won’t release his tax returns?

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM

The BLS made the largest statistical adjustment for July in a decade to arrive at 163,000 jobs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/seasonal-and-birth-death-adjustments-add-429000-statistical-jobs

Wigglesworth on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

It’s completely FAKE. +39,000 temp jobs as well? Hilda is desperate to craft propaganda for the Emperor.

dogsoldier on August 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Has Goolsbee been mugged by reality?

Professor_Chaos on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Goolsbee is trying to regain academic respectability now that he is no longer on Obama’s payroll. Obama should have kept him on retainer to keep him “in the tent”.

Goolsbee was so confident in Obama’s programs that he made sure he got back to the university before his leave of absence ran out and he would loose tenure.

KenInIL on August 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

George W. Bush really left them in a terrible situation. But in 4 more years they’ll have our economy running like a Swiss watch!! NOT!

Deano1952 on August 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I blame Chick-fil-a!

VegasRick on August 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM

150,000 more people were removed from the “seeking employment” status. This adjustment lowered the unemployment rate to 8.3 from the 8.4 it really was prior to the Department of Labor manipulated the statistics to favor the administration (the head is an appointee). It has now significantly altered Labor statistics away from the real data every month since Dec. 2011 in an unprecedented manner.

pat on August 3, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Reading Geitner’s essay is quite humorous.

albill on August 3, 2012 at 1:05 PM

It’s a surreal world.

The Ds, with Obama their Pimp in Chief, have made a latrine of the USA. Keep them in power and swim with the rats, in their own slush.

And, Yes, Machiavelli, Orwell, Pinocchio and Muenchhausen are alive, and proud.

Schadenfreude on August 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Ed, check out the ISM service index, which was released today. It shows that employment in the service sector actually contracted last month. This is directly contradictory to the NFP numbers today. Something smells fishy.

Weight of Glory on August 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Goolsbee is throwing Barry Hussein under the bus; he feels he needs to get the Hope ‘N Change stank off of him in order to reclaim some credibility in the economics community. No one on the 2009-2013 economics team will emerge with his reputation enhanced. Just ask Larry Summers, Christine Romer, TurboTax Timmah or that buffoon with the toupee.

Travis Bickle on August 3, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Hmmm, possibly to much golf time?

fistbump on August 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Deano1952 on August 3, 2012 at 1:00 PM

In another four years the economy will be running like the “Bolex” available on some street corner in NYC.

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Goolsbee is more up front than most any of the others. He of course leans, but he calls it the way he sees it.

Strike Twice on August 3, 2012 at 1:10 PM

The BLS made the largest statistical adjustment for July in a decade to arrive at 163,000 jobs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/seasonal-and-birth-death-adjustments-add-429000-statistical-jobs

Wigglesworth on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

It’s completely FAKE. +39,000 temp jobs as well? Hilda is desperate to craft propaganda for the Emperor.

dogsoldier on August 3, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Unexpectedly… Ed complete ignore this since it doesn’t advance his squishy moderate RINO agenda.

SWalker on August 3, 2012 at 1:12 PM

OT: What happened to Oprah? (pic from yesterday)

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM

The BLS made the largest statistical adjustment for July in a decade to arrive at 163,000 jobs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/seasonal-and-birth-death-adjustments-add-429000-statistical-jobs

Wigglesworth on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

Yep, the number is bogus. We lost jobs, and they used an extraordinary “adjustment” to make negative raw data into a “gain”.

And even with the 1984 bookkeeping, the numbers still stink.

Unemployment is up. Thank you president Obama.

forest on August 3, 2012 at 1:14 PM

The real meanings under Obama.

“Hope” = Hopeless

“Change we can believe in” = Doubt it will work

“Change we need” = Change we would be better off without

“Yes we Can = No we didn’t

“Forward” = Backwards and it already is showing

8 million more people not in the work force in 42 months and “it’s working” Wow!

plutorocks on August 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

OT: What happened to Oprah? (pic from yesterday)

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Reality mugged her and she discovered that she voted for the Anti-Christ and that there was no way she could remove the 666 from her forehead.

SWalker on August 3, 2012 at 1:15 PM

and it is already showing.

Geez

plutorocks on August 3, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Folks, the majority of voters are much smarter than liberals and unfortunately some on our side think they are… If a majority of voters are going to buy Obama lies today they would have bought it long time ago because he has been repeating the same lies since he became President… A majority of voters do not believe a thing Obama says and they believe that he is too incompetent to be President… They know that the economy is very bad on every level and Obama is not the right man to fix it… Some on our side should stop worrying too much about Obama and his media ability to convince a majority of voters that Obama is a good President and hence re-elect him… it is not going to happen, they are not going to succeed…

mnjg on August 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

OT: What happened to Oprah? (pic from yesterday)

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:13 PM

She’s reviving her Sophia character from “The Color Purple”.

AubieJon on August 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Lol…
Talk about desperate…. top of drudge…. WH says 8.254%

What a crock

cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

What kind of growth do you expect while Romney won’t release his tax returns?

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM

Ok, I laughed at that one.

gekkobear on August 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

What kind of growth do you expect while Romney won’t release his tax returns?

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:02 PM

This just in: “Harry Reid has a report from an incredibly credible source that Mitt is hiding 15.6 Trillion in taxes owed! This is why we are in such debt.”

Maybe a few more regulations are in order to put these “rich guys” in their place!!

Deano1952 on August 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

The science is settled.
Progressive policies kill jobs.
John Maynard Keynes is dead.
Drive a stake through his heart, already!

Dexter_Alarius on August 3, 2012 at 1:24 PM

And yet, millions of people will still vote for the feckless lump currently “leading” our country.

scalleywag on August 3, 2012 at 1:26 PM

– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed. …

– Not only is the 8.3% unemployment rate way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

Not only that, but the 8.3% unemployment rate is way above the 5.6% unemployment rate that Team Obama predicted for July 2012 if Congress passed the $800 billion stimulus plan. It’s way above the 6.0% unemployment rate they predicted if no stimulus was passed.

Furthermore…

The Rogue Tomato on August 3, 2012 at 1:30 PM

Obama adviser: Jobless rate is really 8.254%

(via Instapundit)

Dusty on August 3, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Obama is 100% 99.999% fail.

faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM

WH says 8.254%

cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Standing by for the usual suspects objecting that we are using that 8.3% lie when it misrepresents the truth by .046!

Happy Nomad on August 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM

[faraway on August 3, 2012 at 1:32 PM]

LMAO. That’s a good one.

Dusty on August 3, 2012 at 1:35 PM

[Happy Nomad on August 3, 2012 at 1:33 PM]

The potential problem for Obama is that there are people I know who would think 8.254% is a bigger number than 8.3% and they vote.

Dusty on August 3, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Indeed HN

cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 1:45 PM

What a wonderful phucking day in the market it is today. the Market-Maker Knight through corruption and incompetence lose $440 billion dollars yesterday and is now taking it out on the micro-cap and small-cap companies by naked shorting their investors.

For those watching the Market, yes today’s surge can be attributed to Knights attempting to naked short numerous blue chip’s yesterday and failing. Hence their loss of $440 billion dollars and the market’s gain of 200+ points on a day when it should be down around -30 or so.

There was a time when I foolishly and naively believed that because God himself coveted Justice, that the sociopaths at companies like Knight would eventually find themselves subject to prosecution by the SEC.

But then I woke up and realized that when it comes to the Stock Market, God just doesn’t care, and the SEC is 100 percent paid off by the likes of Knight to look the other way while investors are robbed blind while expecting the SEC to protect them from criminals like Knight.

SWalker on August 3, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Here’s another fun fact: today’s 8.3% jobless rate is exactly what it was in February 2009, when Obama got his $838 billion stimulus package. At that point, the civilian participation rate in the workforce was 65.8%. Today’s was 63.7%. In February 2009, we had 80.392 million people not participating in the workforce; as of July, that number has grown by almost eight million people, to 88.34 million, which took 42 months to grow. The time it took previous to February 2009 to add eight million to those not in the workforce was 92 months, more than double the amount of time.

Follow-up on that – the number of people not in the workforce but who want a job now (seasonally adjusted, buried deep in Table A-1):

February 2009 – 5,620,000
July 2012 – 6,554,000

What exactly worked in Teh SCOAMF’s plan?

Steve Eggleston on August 3, 2012 at 2:07 PM

julia is pleased with the Ministry of Employment’s report. as she checks online for her SSI deposit.

t8stlikchkn on August 3, 2012 at 2:11 PM

mnjg on August 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

All I’m saying is that the short-term economy is a small fry issue and subordinate in comparisonn to the larger and more important issues, and the voters know that. The lib MSM is going to portray O in a good light; it is up to us to set the basis of the campaign, and show O is not so good. If we ourselves insist that it’s about the short-term unemployment rate, which is likely to drop in the next couple of months, the independent voter has an easy way to rationalize his vote to continue on the glorious path of the first black president.
WE know what this election is about, as independent voters know as well. And it’s not about the economy, and certainly not about the short-term economy. If nothing else, always emphasize that it is the long-term economy that is important. The election is about whether we as a nation want to continue down into this horrible leftist abyss, or not. It only benefits Obama to say the phrase “this election is about the economy” (as it to a degree neutralizes the issue of his radical leftism, and his radical positions on a host of issues like govt spending, gay marriage, energy, immigration). More important is the out of control govt, and one of many negative impacts of a govt gone wild is a sickly economy.
In addition, keep in mind that many independent voters will be impressed with the point that it doesn’t make a lot difference on the economy whether it be O or R. Or, surprise, for some, it’s not the most important issue for them. These voters will look to other issues to decide. With the economy a wash, they may latch on to their pro-choice abortion stand as the decider. Ok, but in all likelihood, if we make a big issues out of things like gay marriage and the leftist nature of Obama, those are the issues that will decide their vote (in our favor!) in the face of an ambiguous economic situation.

anotherJoe on August 3, 2012 at 2:13 PM

mnjg on August 3, 2012 at 1:17 PM

And I forgot Obamacare! And also unfortunately much of the electorate is forgetting about Obamacare, that’s the problem. Make it, and gay militancy, and the mosque invasions, and etc, an issue. Obamacare is just one of the many bigger issue that trumps the short-term economy. You could just as easily and correctly say: “This election is not about the short-term economy, it is about Obamacare.” Say it!

anotherJoe on August 3, 2012 at 2:33 PM

The country is falling apart at the seams and what are people worried about? Romney’s taxes and his wife’s horse. And those are the moron’s who will vote this clown back in.

scalleywag on August 3, 2012 at 2:40 PM

The BLS made the largest statistical adjustment for July in a decade to arrive at 163,000 jobs.

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/seasonal-and-birth-death-adjustments-add-429000-statistical-jobs

Wigglesworth on August 3, 2012 at 12:47 PM

I believe we are seeing extreme distortion of the numbers for political purposes. Even the non-government numbers like ADT are suspect in a thuggish crony-capitalism administration.

“Nice little paycheck company you have there…”

We will see honest numbers only after the election.

slickwillie2001 on August 3, 2012 at 3:41 PM

I have a feeling there will be a restatement of July numbers next month, and I also predict that’s when Harry Reid will claim a really reliable source told him that Mitt Romney is a serial killer and has been for years.

So 163,000 jobs were created; 195,000 more people claimed to have lost their jobs, and 150,000 more gave up and left the workforce completely because they could not find a job. The labor participation rate has dropped 5 percent this year from 67 percent to about 62 percent. Hmmmm…..

And I want to find out how many people were awarded SS disability because their unemployment ran out. Something’s rotten in Denmark and on Pennsylvania Ave.

Philly on August 3, 2012 at 4:04 PM

@cmsinaz on August 3, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Your word(s) are much kinder than what came to my mind…

OldWeaselKeeper on August 3, 2012 at 7:11 PM

SWalker on August 3, 2012 at 1:49 PM

You should be expelled from the tea party for that diatribe.

Uppereastside on August 3, 2012 at 9:43 PM