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Posted at 9:37 AM ET, 03/ 4/2011

The best jobs report in three years

By Ezra Klein

job-growth.gif

Is the February jobs report good? Compared with anything we’ve seen in the past three years -- including the numbers last spring, where were puffed up by temporary census hires -- it’s great. We created 192,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate fell below the psychologically important 9 percent mark. This is the sort of jobs report that could persuade businesses to start hiring and investing for real, as the only thing worse than getting into a recovering economy too early is getting into a recovering economy too late, and they’d be well served investing ahead of it rather than trying to play catch-up.

But there are some dark clouds. The jobs report could’ve been better. If not for the 30,000 jobs the public sector lost, we’d have created 222,000 jobs. So it’s worth worrying that the House GOP is pushing a spending bill that economist Mark Zandi says will cost 700,000 jobs and Ben Bernanke says will cost “a couple hundred thousand” jobs. Zandi’s estimate is high enough to wipe out this jobs report and a few more like it.

The most important thing for not only the economy, but also the long-term deficit, is that we get unemployment down, and fast. When businesses begin hiring again, that’ll mean more revenue rushing into state and federal coffers, it’ll mean gains in the stock market, it’ll mean lower social spending through programs like Medicaid and unemployment insurance. Sharp spending cuts may save us some money, but that doesn’t mean they’re a good deal, at least right now. What we need at the moment is more jobs reports like this one -- businesses need to be convinced that this is a recovery, not merely a good month. Anything that might get in the way should wait until we’ve had a few of them in a row.

By Ezra Klein  | March 4, 2011; 9:37 AM ET
 
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Comments

Don't read too much into this. Public employee layoffs at the federal and state levels are pending, especially since states have to balance their budgets. Inflation led by oil & food combined with a week housing market and an under-employed rate of 10% will be felt beyond that. Expect unemployment to rise about 9% again until the effects of these factors shake out.

Posted by: JHG_sec405 | March 4, 2011 9:58 AM | Report abuse

Now that businesses are convinced that the adults are back in charge of congress and spending is going to be brought under control, we will start to see a progression of these positive jobs reports.

Posted by: cummije5 | March 4, 2011 10:02 AM | Report abuse

See... elections DO have consequences. Simply electing better leadership -- thereby putting a halt to the Obama/Pelosi Agenda -- has resulted in a better employment outlook.

Now we have to address the union pension debacle more fully discussed in the WaPo report at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/03/03/AR2011030302918_2.html .

Posted by: rmgregory | March 4, 2011 10:07 AM | Report abuse

I have to laugh at cummije5 and rmgregory putting this recovery on the backs of Republicans. - There's a graph up there for crying out loud and it shows the deep hole Obama has been filling since early 2009.

Anyway, just to humor you, I'll agree with you that Republicans deserve all the credit for the jobs report. I have some bad news for you on that front. The more Republicans take credit for an upswing in the economy, the more likely it is that Obama is going to be reelected. Those are two sides of the same coin.

Posted by: asja | March 4, 2011 10:13 AM | Report abuse

Seriously, do the fools posting here really believe that prospective private employers waited for election results before expanding their payrolls?

It's due to rain this weekend. Can we find a way to blame that on the Democrats as well?

Posted by: terminator_x | March 4, 2011 10:16 AM | Report abuse

I do not trust the numbers. Real unemployment is near 20%.

Don't expect the boy who is the President to do anything about that, he ain't got no answers or the jewels to admit it.

Posted by: numbersch13 | March 4, 2011 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Stop parroting obviously untrue "news". The REAL reason that unemployment is down that more and more long-term unemployed are maxing out benefits and falling off the rolls.

Posted by: fakedude2 | March 4, 2011 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Can't you rightwingnut droolers -- yes you, cummije5 and rmgregregoy -- read a simple graph?

The fact that you apparently can't leads me to pity you both if you are in fact older than ten.

Meanwhile, we have two other rightwingnuts -- numbersch13 and fakedude2 -- who take an even more simple-minded approach -- "Lies, lies, it's all lies."

No wonder Obama is going to clean your clock in 2012, morons.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 10:38 AM | Report abuse

It's pretty obvious that the guys saying that businesses hired because of the 2010 election have never run a business in their life.

I run my own small business, and there's only one reason I hire or lay people off. I hire when I have more customers than I can handle with my current staff. I lay people off when I have more staff than I need to handle my current customers.

Nobody hires or fires based on tax policy. That's a fantasy that exists only in the minds of Washington politicians.

Posted by: franklin411 | March 4, 2011 10:42 AM | Report abuse

At this point in Reagan's presidency, unemployment was 10.4 percent, down from its peak of 10.8 in Nov-Dec 1982. (It was 7.5 when Reagan was inaugurated,compared to 7.7 when Obama entered office.) Measured by unemployment, the Reagan recession was worse. During his reelection campaign, unemployment was again below 8 percent and the pain was forgiven and forgotten by the electorate. I suspect we're watching a slightly less dramatic replay at work, unless Congress and governors derail the recovery.

Posted by: pjro | March 4, 2011 10:47 AM | Report abuse

What's especially laughable about the comments of cummie and rmgregory is that House Republicans have done NOTHING to address the unemployment situation.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 10:49 AM | Report abuse

you mean the same mark zandi who said that the stimulus would create "or save" 4 million jobs and thus keep enmployment at 7%? even though we ended up hitting 10% even with the labor force participation at its lowest rate in a generation?

afraid that guy has lost all credibility.

Posted by: dummypants | March 4, 2011 10:50 AM | Report abuse

Conservatives will now credit anyone else but Obama for this upswing in the economy. It's an old game that we're all tired of. They have tried to place Bush's economic collapse on Obama's doorstep from the start; now when it gets better they'll give him no credit. But he'll get his second term nonetheless.

Posted by: dhenken1 | March 4, 2011 10:54 AM | Report abuse

This has to be a Disney moment: if you wish hard enough, dreams will come true. The government numbers are suspect as is all the falderal emanating from the politicians and the media. Truth to tell, there hasn't been much movement upward in jobs throughout the US. In my area, joblessness remains above 12 percent, with no evidence of improvement. Even assuming the reports are true, the huge uptick in oil prices, if not soon reversed, will affect all sectors of the economy. This will not be apparent to those who put their faith in Wall Street which operates 180 degrees from main street reality.

Posted by: Diogenes | March 4, 2011 10:55 AM | Report abuse

numbersch13 - is Obama a boy? How can you expect to be taken seriously, or even remotely intelligent if you are complete biggot? If only our president was white and from the South....oh yeah, that didn't work out so great, now did it?

Posted by: swags1 | March 4, 2011 10:56 AM | Report abuse

numbersch13 - is Obama a boy? How can you expect to be taken seriously, or even remotely intelligent if you are complete biggot? If only our president was white and from the South....oh yeah, that didn't work out so great, now did it?

Posted by: swags1 | March 4, 2011 10:57 AM | Report abuse

It all comes down to the credit crunch, banks willing to lend, businesses willing to hire, and the GOVERNMENT providing the liquidity to the entire system to stop it from collapsing. This time it took 2 years. Next time it will be longer because unregulated financial speculation will drive us into a deeper hole. Thank you Federal Reserve for doing what was needed even though you catch hell for it.

Posted by: Moderation | March 4, 2011 10:58 AM | Report abuse

Well said Observer691. In addition the new tax cut policies of the Republican house will make unemployment worse not better--and guess who they'll blame for that! When you cut discretionary spending--as opposed to entitement spending--you erase jobs, many of them middle class jobs. The one downside on this jobs report was the loss of public-sector jobs, so the states and municipalities are already cutting. Job losses in this sector, thanks to the Republicans, are projected to get much worse in the coming months.

Posted by: dhenken1 | March 4, 2011 11:01 AM | Report abuse

I can't read this graph. Come on- washington post- you can do better than that.

Please label your axes and put units! Especially on the X.

Yes I can probably safeley assume that jobs are in thousands, unemployment is in percentage, and the x-axis represents time in months...but I shouldn't have to do that. Also, what if I'm wrong? Someone could get the wrong impression.

Please be mindful of this in the future.

Posted by: MyOpinionIs | March 4, 2011 11:06 AM | Report abuse

applications for benefits means absolutely nada, zero, zilch- when talking about the status of employment.
applications for UI benefits are down because people have used up all available benefits.

we lost millions of jobs over the past 10 years. 192,000 is a drop in the bucket.

lets have the labor dept to ask all state employment departments for the number of persons who have used up all available benefits. not names just a total number from each state and only within the period from 3/1/2010 to 3/1/2011 to make it a manageable figure.

also, of all these jobs added, how many people would say that their wages and benefits (if any) are much less than they were making at their previous job.

Posted by: genx007 | March 4, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

If not for the 30,000 jobs the public sector lost, we’d have created 222,000 jobs. What? Those 30,000 jobs wouldn't have been new jobs, they are jobs people already had.

Posted by: obrier2 | March 4, 2011 11:07 AM | Report abuse

furthermore, why does 0 job growth line up with 7.5% unemployment. I suspect that it's so they both fit nicely on the plot, but it gives the (false) impression that December 2008 should have some special significance.

Posted by: MyOpinionIs | March 4, 2011 11:08 AM | Report abuse

These are not manipulated numbers. In Fairfax County, Virginia the open positions are up 146% since June 2009. Most of these are well paying jobs. I was looking for work in 2009 (and have been employed since in a less than desirable job) and recently looked again. I had all kinds of employers interested in me this time. This time I found a better job.

Posted by: commentator2 | March 4, 2011 11:09 AM | Report abuse

obrier2: Private sector job gains equaled 222,000--public sector losses = 30,000--if the second number was zero, whaddya got? duh!

Posted by: dhenken1 | March 4, 2011 11:11 AM | Report abuse

If it weren't so seriously criminal, this report could be a joke. Gallup, using the same numbers, has real unemployment rising to 10.3%. Furthermore, the raw numbers are that both job openings and planned layoffs are up by more than 30%, THE WORST they have been since this depression began. Couple that with the fact that virtually every private sector economist and most foreign economists and experts are using words to describe these White House releases of happy news as "fantasy", "fiction", "politically driven nonsense", and "troublesome lies", and you can put this report into perspective. This we do know, and YOU should be reporting, the raw, non-massaged or modified U6 number now stands at 23.8%. Every technical indicator shows use plunging into a double dip.... or worse -- stocks overvalued by at least 50%, artificially inflated by the government's throwing money at Wall Street, that 90% of that money has been flowing out of the country in the form of Chinese and Indian investments which has kicked in 10% inflation there (and THAT inflation is boomeranging back HERE), that job outsourcing is *accelerating*, housing prices are due to fall another 25% this year (with virtually all sales going to investors and single family buyers lower than even at the worst of the Great Depression), food prices and energy prices are both at all time highs and still rising, millions of newly laid off public employees and veterans from the downsizing military are going to just flood this jobless economy. What the assorted buffoons, Wall Street hacks, and spin doctors in Washington have managed to do is get people's hope's up, purposefully because this economy is 80% consumer driven, but the looming summer crash is going to so disappoint, so enrage people, that those unemployment and commodity price driven protests and riots we saw in in Egypt are going to visit America. These GOVERNMENT reports aren't just nonsense, they are DANGEROUS NONSENSE!

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 4, 2011 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Great job to the Republicans. Since they came back into power the job numbers are up, unemployment numbers are down and they deserve ALL the credit. It's nice that our divine President watches the price of fuel rise, helping him and his fat cat Big Oil buddies fleece the American people.

Posted by: jellymon | March 4, 2011 11:17 AM | Report abuse

The Idiot and Chief leader of this country will be on TV shortly to tout his 'new' economic plan, er, I mean he'll be showing off his NCAA March Madness picks.........

Posted by: jellymon | March 4, 2011 11:25 AM | Report abuse

numbersch13 - is Obama a boy? How can you expect to be taken seriously, or even remotely intelligent if you are complete biggot? If only our president was white and from the South....oh yeah, that didn't work out so great, now did it?

Posted by: swags1
____________

Actually, that white kid from Arkansas did a pretty decent job... Jobs and a balanced budget - what a concept!!

Of course, he was a Democrat, and not one of those "cut taxes and spend more" Republicans who seem to have learned their fiscal policy ideas from Citicard. And, don't make me laugh by trying to backtrack now with the budget histrionics - cutting 60 million when we just spent billions on the Repbul-wars is doing next to zip to manage our debt.

Posted by: DCLocal20 | March 4, 2011 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Any fool can see, based on the chart above that the Economy along with Unemployment started tanking April 2008 all the way to December 2008 under George Bush's and the Republican's watch.

They basically handed President Obama an Economy that was heading towards the "Abyss" off a rugged and rocky cliff, by the time January 2009 rolled around.

Afterwards, it took President Obama a whole year to keep that run away train from heading off that rugged and rocky cliff.

With a great deal of ingenuity and hard work, President Obama backed up that train from the overhanging cliff with boulders below and pulled it back on its track.

And now the Republican Rag wants to take credit for all of the hard work that President Obama for over a year now in preventing that train from running off a steep cliff.

Like always, you can count on the Republican Rag for "revising" history even when the truth is staring all of us dead in the face.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | March 4, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

cummije5:
"the adults are back in charge of congress"

Really? When did that happen? Because I still see a bunch of petulant children proposing cuts to, for example, the White House teleprompter budget.

Posted by: presto668 | March 4, 2011 11:27 AM | Report abuse

presto,

does the White House really have a "teleprompter budget"?


Washington in general is so outside of the norm of the rest of America (left and right wing America btw) that its amazing and disgusting all at the same time.

Posted by: visionbrkr | March 4, 2011 11:31 AM | Report abuse

"I have to laugh at cummije5 and rmgregory putting this recovery on the backs of Republicans. - There's a graph up there for crying out loud and it shows the deep hole Obama has been filling since early 2009."

It is a bit of post hoc, ergo propter hoc. That the unemployment rate rapidly fell after Republicans were elected is undebatable. However, much of that improvement was related to a decline in labor participation. The employment to population ratio remains low at 58.4%, just two ticks above the 58.2% low in November.

Furthermore, we can't really know exactly why the labor market seems to be improving at this juncture. More plausibly than even the removal of uncertainty, it is profits. Many jobs today are of an investment nature, and when profits are up, investment swings upwards as well. Uncertainty remains in the cards (oil/middle east, government shutdown, long-term tax rates, etc).

However, Democrats are just as guilty of post hoc when attributing the recession solely to Bush, or attributing the recovery solely to Obama. To be consistent, one would also have to link the sudden acceleration in growth in mid 2003 with the 2nd Bush tax cuts, and the sudden improvement in labor force conditions since November with something that occurred around that time (Republicans, the extension of tax cuts, the new tax cuts, etc). By the way, the timing of the labor market improvement doesn't seem to be consistent at all with ARRA - in fact, we'd expect a drag on the economy given that ARRA spending has peaked, and state/local governments are cutting back.

At the end of the day, we can use stylized facts and try to fit theories to them, but the economy is too complex to completely understand. It's difficult to accept that we are unable to make any sure pronouncements on why a particular macroeconomic variable changed over any given time period. Both sides tend to cherry pick examples that work for them.

What we do know - as highlighted in Ezra's post on government planning - is that the economy is very complex, and we shouldn't expect the government to be able to manage it well. There is a strong presumption against the government being able to generate a recovery. Also, the economy tends to function well as a bottom up process, with individuals being best able to utilize local information. Top down interventions are likely to be missing critical information, and government incentive aren't always properly aligned with the best outcomes (see public choice theory).

"What's especially laughable about the comments of cummie and rmgregory is that House Republicans have done NOTHING to address the unemployment situation."

Maybe doing nothing is the right thing to do.

Posted by: justin84 | March 4, 2011 11:39 AM | Report abuse

I simply must stop reading these posts. Doing so does nothing to change my impression that the average American is a complete and utter dumbass.

Posted by: shellyd1977 | March 4, 2011 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Hey swags1, don't worry about the idiot numbersch13. Guys like him hide behind their bigotry online. He's just pissed that everyday that goes by he loses more and more of the good old boy network. See it does not work for guys like him anymore because republicans only support the wealthy and you can tell by his verbiage that he is a back woods, non educated hillbilly that married his sister. But don't worry numbersch13. My car still needs washing so there will always be work for people like you. LOL you racist loser.

Posted by: gridlockindc1 | March 4, 2011 11:45 AM | Report abuse

It's obvious that the rightwingnuts take pride in being ignorant and are unable to read the graph. (President Obama was right in that you all are more proof that our educational system is failing us).

So allow me to help you rightwingnuts out.

The lowest point of the graph is when Senator Obama became President Obama. Your homework assignments are (1 )to study that graph and figure out what is the bad side of the graph and what is the good side of the graph and (2) which Presidents are responsible for the good and bad sides of the graph. If you need help, I will allow you to use the Internet to do your research.

When you think you have the answer, report back.

Posted by: CoronaRay | March 4, 2011 11:47 AM | Report abuse

The only thing more ridiculous than this jobs report is the Republitards shamelessly claiming the credit for it.

Posted by: TalkingHead1 | March 4, 2011 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Diogenes, I haven't seen "falderal" in a very long time, thanks for digging that one up (even though I disagree with your point).

Posted by: fallschurch1 | March 4, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

You won't cut into the deficit if the only jobs that are being created are from government spending. What revenues that are taken in from more people working are simply eaten up by further government spending to keep those people working. Robbing Peter to pay Paul (or something like that.) We need to cut spending and create the incentives for the private sector to hire. Then we'll cut into the deficit. The Rs have it right on this one.

Posted by: failsafe | March 4, 2011 11:55 AM | Report abuse

the republicans get it that too many are out of work...
the dems think you are getting jobs...
the corporations don't trust obama and won't hire...
obama manipulates the formulas to look good...
he better save it for the elections...
when the fools will come out to vote...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 4, 2011 11:56 AM | Report abuse

shelly, don't give up hope. The teabagger rabble, as represented by the rightwingnut droolers posting on here, are a small minority and well below average in intelligence and most other key statistics(except in weight).

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 11:57 AM | Report abuse

remember if it were up to the dems...
they would have increased the taxes they would have taken out of your pay...
your taxes would have gone up...

Posted by: DwightCollins | March 4, 2011 11:59 AM | Report abuse

"(2) which Presidents are responsible for the good and bad sides of the graph."

Presidents generally aren't responsible for what is shown on the graph, other than perhaps indirectly via their Fed picks.

Posted by: justin84 | March 4, 2011 12:01 PM | Report abuse

shellyd1977 - Kudos

Posted by: CoronaRay | March 4, 2011 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Ezra fails to mention two very important things: The reduction in the unemployment number once again was caused mainly by the Department of Labor statistics arbitrarily eliminating millions of workers from the unemployment roles because they were "discouraged". And, the total number of unemployed increased once again.

According to the Gallup organization, the number of unemployed did not decrease, it increased to 10.3%, and the total number of unemployed reached 19.9%, the highest number it has been since the Great Depression.

Posted by: mike85 | March 4, 2011 12:04 PM | Report abuse

03/04/11 Relevant to this latest Government Unemployment News release is an growing concern wrt the 'credibility' of federal Economic news releases esp. since Oct 2008. Initial news releases (GDP;CPI; Unemployment; and many 'Other' economic indicators) are almost always subsequently followed by official Federal revisions decreasing initial news releases. This pattern my indicate: (1)faulty underlying econometric models and/or forecasting techniques;(2) 'skewing' created by the 'abnormal' and often unprecedented economic variations incurred since Oct 2008; (3)and/or (un)intentional introduction of economic bias (optimism); etc. The unintended consequence of a 'systemic' loss of public and market confidence in national economic indicators could become very problematic.

With just concern....Beware!

C-Dory Cap'n

Posted by: mjr_06 | March 4, 2011 12:06 PM | Report abuse

justin84 - Actually, you are correct but I put it in those terms because your average dumbass can only comprehend that far.

Posted by: CoronaRay | March 4, 2011 12:07 PM | Report abuse

To the people putting these numbers on the backs of the new Republican majority in the House, I have only this to say: post hoc ergo propter hoc.

Posted by: MosBen | March 4, 2011 12:11 PM | Report abuse

If not for the 30,000 jobs the public sector lost, we’d have created 222,000 jobs. What? Those 30,000 jobs wouldn't have been new jobs, they are jobs people already had.
**************************************
That's why they are subtracted from the gross total of jobs created. It's the net number of jobs "available".

If you have 10 apples, your tree puts out 10 more, but 3 of those apples you have rots, then you wind up with 17.

Better yet. Company A has 100 jobs, but everyone gets laid off. Company B hires all those from Company A. It's not a net of 100 jobs, it's zero.

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | March 4, 2011 12:14 PM | Report abuse

I see the economy improving. I've been combing the want ads and postings, etc., for ages. I have been to more interviews and such, and have seen jobs open up that haven't been posted in years.

I find it interesting that there are two opinions, oddly both on the same "side".

There are those that believe these improved numbers are a result of the recent mid-term election. Then, there are those that believe the numbers have been "tampered with".

I'd also like to point out the unemployment WAS EXTENDED till the end of this calendar year. As for discouraged individuals, see here how the numbers are figured out:
Early each month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) of the U.S. Department of Labor announces the total number of employed and unemployed persons in the United States for the previous month, along with many characteristics of such persons. These figures, particularly the unemployment rate—which tells you the percent of the labor force that is unemployed—receive wide coverage in the media.

Some people think that to get these figures on unemployment, the Government uses the number of persons filing claims for unemployment insurance (UI) benefits under State or Federal Government programs. But some people are still jobless when their benefits run out, and many more are not eligible at all or delay or never apply for benefits. So, quite clearly, UI information cannot be used as a source for complete information on the number of unemployed.

Other people think that the Government counts every unemployed person each month. To do this, every home in the country would have to be contacted—just as in the population census every 10 years. This procedure would cost way too much and take far too long. Besides, people would soon grow tired of having a census taker come to their homes every month, year after year, to ask about job-related activities.

Because unemployment insurance records relate only to persons who have applied for such benefits, and since it is impractical to actually count every unemployed person each month, the Government conducts a monthly sample survey called the Current Population Survey (CPS) to measure the extent of unemployment in the country.

Read the rest here: http://www.bls.gov/cps/cps_htgm.htm

Posted by: MichelleKinPA | March 4, 2011 12:27 PM | Report abuse

Now that businesses are convinced that the adults are back in charge of congress and spending is going to be brought under control, we will start to see a progression of these positive jobs reports.

Posted by: cummije5 | March 4, 2011 10:02 AM


By grown-ups, I assume you mean Speaker Boehner, who can't get out a sentence without welling up or down-right bawling.

Posted by: NMModerate1 | March 4, 2011 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Who in their right minds would believe anything such as this and coming from one of the most corrupt administrations we've had for decades. The DOL and their numbers games would be a joke if it weren't so serious. They only count the people applying for or are on unemployment and discredit the masses, some 2.3 million or thereabout people not covered under these benefits or are no longer eligible. What a numbers racket, it's all political and,Obama,like the Sun King parties with potentates and communists with our, We the People's hard earned tax dollars. Go blow those statistics where the sun don't shine. We the People aren't stupid sheep to believe in this propaganda.

Posted by: DonnaAngelStar | March 4, 2011 12:40 PM | Report abuse

"What's especially laughable about the comments of cummie and rmgregory is that House Republicans have done NOTHING to address the unemployment situation"

Merely being there suffices.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

Hey DonnaAngelStar, perhaps you can point out the specific month on the above graph where the statistics started to be "propaganda."

Teabagger lunatic.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse

""What's especially laughable about the comments of cummie and rmgregory is that House Republicans have done NOTHING to address the unemployment situation"

Merely being there suffices.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 12:48 PM | Report abuse"

Right Cletus. Why don't you go out and find us even one business that has hired anyone because House Republicans are "merely there."

Another teabag lunatic.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 12:52 PM | Report abuse

"The lowest point of the graph is when Senator Obama became President Obama. Your homework assignments are (1 )to study that graph and figure out what is the bad side of the graph and what is the good side of the graph and (2) which Presidents are responsible for the good and bad sides of the graph. If you need help, I will allow you to use the Internet to do your research"

If the graph was properly extended back to 2001, the answer is obvious.

The good side is on the left.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 12:55 PM | Report abuse

The government jobs figures are hocus pocus ...if those that aren't SUPPOSEDLY LOOKING and THOSE OUT OF UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS AREN'T INCLUDED the numbers are useless.....

Much as the inflation numbers- that exclude food and energy costs...RIDICULOUS!

America is slip slidin' away and yet our gov is so oblivious they haven't eneded these morally wrong wars and haven't changed ineffective policy - drug wars, border wars, most prisoners (80% or so in jail for non-violent crimes- drugs), of any country in the world, IRS regsoare ridiculous, energy dept. that does nothing but nuclear research for dod, etc.etc.


The times they are a changin' and not for the better!

Posted by: ticked | March 4, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

"Right Cletus. Why don't you go out and find us even one business that has hired anyone because House Republicans are "merely there."

Another teabag lunatic."


Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh.

The numbers speak for themselves.

The firings in the public sector are terrific news. We can finally reverse the last 15 years worth of garbage hired by state/local governments.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 12:57 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the best indicator is the media's need to get excited about a jobs number that by anything other than a comparison with recent history is miserable. The continuing top level reality is the absence of any sign of a sustainable trend that can reverse the direction that our economy has experienced over the last decade. Given the uncertain role of extreme Federal Reserve policies, it is impossible to have any idea of how sustainable any new jobs actually are. The public demand for a more balanced federal budget while rejecting new taxes and cuts in major entitlements shows how far we are from any kind of social contract that has any chance of being sustainable in any realistic economic and demographic future. We continue to try to manage our economy with Federal Reserve policies that have a demonstrated history of failure and an obvious disconnection from any kind of plausible human economic decision process. In the absence of any kind of conceptual idea of a sustainable direction for our economy, economic data is mostly noise that at best suggests that we probably will get through at least the next month without another crisis.

Posted by: dnjake | March 4, 2011 1:23 PM | Report abuse

We can't cut our way out of the deficit. It's good to see that the adults in D.C. know this. Maybe the Republicans will eventually see this too.

Posted by: HillRat | March 4, 2011 1:37 PM | Report abuse

cummije5, if you can read a graph, you should realize that things actually stopped getting worse within months of Obama's election and began improving--albeit very slowly. By your logic, Bush and the Republicans should get the blame for putting us in the hole, shouldn't they?

Frankly, I think both parties suck, so I'm just sayin...

Posted by: mddave | March 4, 2011 1:46 PM | Report abuse

jobs created is anemic at best.

Tax cuts producing jobs? not much.

Posted by: wowisdabomb | March 4, 2011 1:54 PM | Report abuse

Not good enough for people whose life status has changed from middle class to poor. Prices are rising on groceries,utilities,insurance, clothing, etc., thanks in part to media's over-coverage of "the good news" of economic recovery, and politicians' self-serving happy talk about it. Oh, wait ... they don't care. Rising costs only compound problems this wonderful recovery is heaping upon us, and those who have never worried once about paying for their kids' braces, or school supplies, go on with their lives.

Posted by: mirrorgazer | March 4, 2011 2:04 PM | Report abuse

krazen has the perfect User ID for a teabagger: He is insane, and he can't spell.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 2:12 PM | Report abuse

(1) The number of "discouraged workers", those that who are no longer considered unemployed because they gave up looking, was pretty much unchanged in this report, and is trending down overall.

(2) The number of "unemployed people" is significantly down in this report (SA).

(3) This number has nothing to do with the amount of people who claim UE benefits or who no longer qualify for unemployment benefits unless you believe that a significant number of people are only looking for work because their unemployment benefits require them to.

(4) Gallup's poll is not seasonally adjusted, and is completely useless for anyone that hasn't been following Gallup's unemployment #s over recent decades.

(5) 19.9% from Gallup is not, in fact, the highest since the Great Depression, it's the highest since last year.

(6) U6 underemployment is a perfectly legitimate statistic in the historical context of U6 underemployment data. Pretending that it's the 'real' number that should be compared to historical U3 numbers makes no sense whatever.

(7) Last month about 4.5 million people were hired and something close to it left jobs. What matters is the difference, which is what is reported. Saying "190K jobs were created last month" is sloppy, but semantic arguments about what word choice to best describe net increase is not value-adding.

(8) Christ people, get it through your heads that the 'number unemployed' does not depend on the number who are receiving benefits.

(9) I mean seriously, this is not that complicated.

Posted by: eggnogfool | March 4, 2011 2:15 PM | Report abuse

I'll keep my finger crossed but this is the fiftieth time they've declared a "recovery" afoot and I've yet to see it.

Still, a lot of people are suffering, so I hope this is real.

This time.

Posted by: andrew23boyle | March 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Krazen, and others who are applauding the firing of public service workers... Before you congratulate yourselves, recall the process begun during the Reagan administration and continued under Bush Senior and Junior - pushing public services from the Federal level down to the State level - only without the necessary funding.
Now the States, under Tea Party pressure, are pushing the services down to the City and County levels, again without providing the funding. On top of that, some are even blocking the cities from raising property taxes to pay for the unfunded public services.
When this is through shaking itself out, you will join the crowds complaining that your public schools are overcrowded, that you have no safe intersections in your neighborhoods, and that your police services take 20 minutes to answer even a "crime in progress."
And, oh, by the way, who do you think provides the "bottom" to the real estate market? It is those same public service workers who will be put out of work. With a hole like that in real estate, new housing construction will not recover, and existing home sales will take much longer, with continuing losses of equity. Only a small percentage of the population, those who have cash to spare because of the wealth they have accumulated over the last years of tax cuts for the wealthy, will be able or willing to buy some of the houses so they can then rent them out to people who can no longer afford to buy them.
End result? Five years hence Cities and Counties have to re-hire all of the people who were let go, and re-build their fractured reputations with the public that they serve. We see a huge waste of taxpayers' funding, for a potential (I would say illusory) advantage in a single election.
So, go ahead. Attack the unions. Fire the public servants. Get the government "off the people's backs." Then sit back and watch as the oil industry soaks up our economy, banks its profits for the future, and hires our children at slave wages because they own the company town. These massive companies will dictate what services you deserve. They will charge you the going rate for the services they are willing to provide. They will allow you to vote for your Mayor, provided they have endorsed the candidate to begin with. And they will gladly sacrifice your children and your future on the altar of the Tea Party.

Posted by: PLMAnnapolis | March 4, 2011 2:16 PM | Report abuse

This unemployment graph shows emphatically that the stimulus worked. The tanker ship that is the U.S. economy was diverted from the rocks and has finally cleared the reef and is headed for calmer seas. Let's give this another quarter or two to take hold, then start in with progressively increasing spending cuts, tax increases, and eliminations of big tax breaks and subsidies.

Posted by: Menidia | March 4, 2011 2:21 PM | Report abuse

MyOpinionIs...and others...

People make me sad for America. I could tell people how I disagree with them (and not change opinions), but I would rather point out something nobody should disagree with - regardless of party.

The graphs are very clear. There is a percentage at the top and that means the rest are the same (no need to be redundant). Jobs are in the thousands - you can tell because it says "in thousands..." The time is in months, as INDICATED with the "February 2008" point indicator.

Your later point about 0 equals 7.5 is crazy. They are TWO different graphs! It is lined up because YOU chose to pretend they are one.

To future posters, we can disagree, but make sure when you try to act smart, you made it past 4th grade math. If you can't read "this graph" (the first problem might be that there are two) it is your shortcoming, not Ezra's.

I can't read this graph. Come on- washington post- you can do better than that.

Please label your axes and put units! Especially on the X.

Yes I can probably safeley assume that jobs are in thousands, unemployment is in percentage, and the x-axis represents time in months...but I shouldn't have to do that. Also, what if I'm wrong? Someone could get the wrong impression.

Please be mindful of this in the future.

Posted by: MyOpinionIs | March 4, 2011 11:06 AM

Posted by: jerry35 | March 4, 2011 2:23 PM | Report abuse

"When this is through shaking itself out, you will join the crowds complaining that your public schools are overcrowded, that you have no safe intersections in your neighborhoods, and that your police services take 20 minutes to answer even a "crime in progress." "

That's a whole load of BS.

Public schools functioned just fine with many fewer teachers in 1990 than today.


"Now the States, under Tea Party pressure, are pushing the services down to the City and County levels, again without providing the funding. On top of that, some are even blocking the cities from raising property taxes to pay for the unfunded public services. '


What services? The state of NJ provided just as many services to me in 1990 as today with less than half as much money taken out of my pocket.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 2:26 PM | Report abuse

"So, go ahead. Attack the unions. Fire the public servants. Get the government "off the people's backs." Then sit back and watch as the oil industry soaks up our economy, banks its profits for the future, and hires our children at slave wages because they own the company town. These massive companies will dictate what services you deserve. They will charge you the going rate for the services they are willing to provide. "


The government already does all these things. Except banking profits anyway, they just give their money away to people who vote for Democrats.

Why do you think the porkulus package gave the cesspool of Detroit so much money?

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 2:29 PM | Report abuse

I think you mean this is the best work of fiction to come along in several decades.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 4, 2011 2:31 PM | Report abuse

I think you mean this is the best work of fiction to come along in several decades.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 4, 2011 2:33 PM | Report abuse

The best jobs report in three years is not a lie. For the past three years unemployment was 9 percent of higher. The rate is based on those receiving unemployment benefits. How many benefits have been discontinued for Americans who could not find a job? Get an accurate reading of the jobless tragedy in America.

Posted by: klausdmk | March 4, 2011 2:39 PM | Report abuse

@jellymon,

"Great job to the Republicans. Since they came back into power the job numbers are up, unemployment numbers are down and they deserve ALL the credit."

Why? Could you please elaborate? What have they done that earns them *any* of the credit? (P.S. "Back into power" = holding the majority in one house of Congress? OK, sure, why not.)

"It's nice that our divine President watches the price of fuel rise, helping him and his fat cat Big Oil buddies fleece the American people."

Wow. Of course it's true that oil money (like much corporate money) flow to both parties to some extent, but if you think that "fat cat Big Oil" types are fans, let alone buddies, of Democrats in general or of Obama in particular, you have so much to learn about the American political system that it taints your credibility on just about any political issue.

Posted by: Janine1 | March 4, 2011 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Thank you to the OBAMA administration for getting us out of the mess caused by Bush and the Republicans!
8 years of Bush failed policy fixed in about 2 years of Obama's brilliant and courageous policy.

The new GOP House did NOTHING NOTHING NOTHING to help these jobs numbers! NOTHING!

You GOP supporters cannot name ONE SINGLE JOBS BILL created by the GOP House.

The impressive drop on unemployment is all thanks to the Obama stimulus plan and the health care reform which created and saved thousands of jobs.

So now what will the GOP do? Try to pass a spending bill that will eliminate about 100,000 US jobs.

Good luck with that, Republicans. No way Senate Dems or Obama lets you get away with ruining our country again!

Posted by: jgarrisn | March 4, 2011 2:51 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Brooks, you should try another country, since you obviously have no faith in this one.

Posted by: Observer691 | March 4, 2011 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Ezra and other liberals are sure not concerned about the 800,000 jobs that will be lost with the health care law and he sure does not care about the higher taxes it brought. Amazing how the view for liberal tax and spend wackos is so off kilter.

Posted by: topgun97365 | March 4, 2011 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Observer691 _ Actually, as an actual working mathematician, who does economic modeling and is quite good at it, I have been trying to sound a warning. The problem is, most of you run around hoping that we can somehow bungle our way out of the mess we are in. The Republicans, Democrats, Wall Street, and most of the folk passing themselves off as our leaders, are marching the entire world off a cliff. Unless someone does something to change the direction we are headed, we literally face extinction -- first as a nation and culture, and perhaps as a species. History is very clear about this, economic calamities such as we are in always lead to global wars. This one will wreck civilization and leave, at best, a small vestige of humanity.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | March 4, 2011 4:10 PM | Report abuse

This is due to a steady pattern of job growth, albeit slow. It has nothing to do with the Republicans. Whatismore, the Republican party isn't even hesitant in suggesting throwing people out of work if they are government employees.

However, the only government employees who actually DESERVE getting thrown out are the John Birch Society lunatics who have over-run congress.

Posted by: jKO2010 | March 4, 2011 5:02 PM | Report abuse

CAN'T YOU MORONS IN THE TEA PARTY EVEN READ A SIMPLE CHART?!!!!!???????

F0R CRYING OUT LOUD.

AND YOU WONDER WHY YOU ARE GETTING CALLED MORON.

Posted by: jKO2010 | March 4, 2011 5:05 PM | Report abuse

Ezra -- All jobs aren't created equal. Cutting government employees leads to tax reductions and greater efficiency in the services they supply. It's a big win for all taxpayers and a minor loss for all Democrats.

Posted by: dknight12345 | March 4, 2011 5:10 PM | Report abuse

Republicans tell us that a silly reading of the Constitution and a pointless circus for the Fox News goobers in the form of the Obama care repeal cleans up eight years of Bush's mess.

Amazing people these Republicans.

Posted by: Deirdre_K | March 4, 2011 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Has the Compost even run a story on gas prices yet? Guess they only do that when there's an R in the White House..

Posted by: wewintheylose1 | March 4, 2011 6:04 PM | Report abuse

They said exactly the same thing exactly one year ago. What happened? Nada!..the numbers went back into the red. Every time the economy grows a little, WaPo cries out "look!" When it takes a dump? WaPo calmly explains how it couldn't possibly be Barry's fault.

Posted by: lacarids | March 4, 2011 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"Republicans tell us that a silly reading of the Constitution and a pointless circus for the Fox News goobers in the form of the Obama care repeal cleans up eight years of Bush's mess"

What nonsense! Bush, unlike the o-fail, actually grew the US economy.

Posted by: krazen1211 | March 4, 2011 7:30 PM | Report abuse

It's quite amazing that we've been through a 30 month period without good analysis here.

The economic setback caused loss of tax revenue... from personal and corporate tax. After the correction the private sector began to add jobs again (as of 12 months ago, it's been pretty steady) but the public sector has had time-delay job slashes as the tax revenue impacts hit. But, as the economy is now expanding and public sector jobs are up, there is a time-delay tax revenue increase on the way.

It's terrible that so many will lose their jobs and we need to do a better job buffering against this (states can do that by moving to more property tax based structures, which stay flatter than income based revenue). But Klein is continuing the media's self-serving wallowing in the bad facets without pointing out the rosy long term picture.

Posted by: kemurph | March 4, 2011 10:26 PM | Report abuse

We will see how sustainable this is. But look at the last four months. It is more or less flat You can't say that figures one month are artificially low because of weather (no doubt, true) and then say the rise the next month is not catch-up, especially when the chart suggests it.

Posted by: jhough1 | March 4, 2011 10:58 PM | Report abuse

@rmgregory near the top:

"See... elections DO have consequences. Simply electing better leadership -- thereby putting a halt to the Obama/Pelosi Agenda -- has resulted in a better employment outlook."

That's some stupid stuff you wrote. No causation has been demonstrated there at all. Quit with the right-wing hack lying.

Posted by: jonboinAR | March 5, 2011 12:14 AM | Report abuse

@rmgregory near the top:

"See... elections DO have consequences. Simply electing better leadership -- thereby putting a halt to the Obama/Pelosi Agenda -- has resulted in a better employment outlook."

That's some stupid stuff you wrote. No causation has been demonstrated there at all. Quit with the right-wing hack lying.

Posted by: jonboinAR | March 5, 2011 12:25 AM | Report abuse

--*This is the sort of jobs report that could persuade businesses to start hiring and investing for real*--

That's the propagandist's dream, anyway, isn't it? Phony baloney reports (from a slimy government, parroted by a complicit press) that anyone who takes five minutes can see through, and you think that's all it takes.

Business people are smarter than you, Klein.

Posted by: msoja | March 5, 2011 8:18 AM | Report abuse

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