Friday, May 07, 2010

U.S. Employment Picture Brightens-- Republicans Go Crazy


Years of conservative/corporate/corrupt Republican governance left the country on the verge of an economic meltdown. Obviously you can't put the blame on individual GOP mountebanks who cheer-led the catastrophe, irresponsible hacks like John Boehner, Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor. But you do have to take note when these same people who did so much to cause the disaster are the very ones obstructing President Obama from fixing it and then pouting when his remedies start working. This morning, as the new employment figures were announced, Cantor groused that "Out-of-control spending in Washington has produced a Mount Everest of debt that we are asking future generations to climb. Even if the economy added 250,000 jobs every month, it would take nearly five years to get back to full employment. Five years is too long."

John Boehner and his lemming-like followers were just as negative. While he was off golfing, Boehner's spokesperson sent out a press release dwelling on how long it's taken Obama to clean up the economy (that it took conservatives a decade to destroy):
House Republican Leader John Boehner (R-OH) responded today to the disappointing news that the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent despite President Obama’s promise that the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ would keep unemployment below eight percent. The number of long-term unemployed-- those out of work for 27 weeks or longer-- now account for a record 46 percent of the unemployed. Boehner issued the following statement:

“A 9.9 percent unemployment rate is a harsh reminder that families and small businesses continue to ask ‘where are the jobs?’ Positive job growth is always welcome news, but this rising and painfully high unemployment rate is a far cry from President Obama’s promise that the trillion-dollar ‘stimulus’ would keep joblessness from rising above eight percent. It has not, and millions have lost their jobs while Washington Democrats continue to push job-killing policies that pile more debt onto the backs of our kids and grandkids. These misguided policies include a massive government takeover of health care, a Wall Street bailout bill, a value-added tax, a gas tax, and a government takeover of the Internet, all of which will kill jobs.  

“Washington Democrats have no coherent agenda to create jobs, and no interest in doing anything but continue to spend money we don’t have on ‘stimulus’ programs that don’t work. Our economy will ultimately recover, but it will do so because of the hard work and entrepreneurship of the American people, not more wasteful Washington spending. Republicans have proposed better solutions to cut spending now and help put people back to work.”

Justin Coussoule, who still has a job in Boehner's western Ohio district, is running for the seat Boehner has been occupying for decades. Noting that this was the largest jobs increase in four years, Coussoule noted Boehner's unhappiness over the positive developments:
“It is remarkable that serial critics like Congressman Boehner seem pained by the clear facts that our nation is making economic progress under the leadership of President Obama. Obviously the stimulus and new leadership have pulled us back from the precipice of economic disaster that some apparently wanted to continue seemingly willing to strangle the Main Street business resurgence for their own short term political ends. Apparently he thinks his becoming Speaker and a mere two heartbeats away from the Presidency trumps the well being of millions of American families positively impacted by these new economic numbers which document the continuing recovery. Cheerleading for continued economic hardship on the American people is not leadership, it is selfish continuation of a pattern of obstruction and stale attacks.”

[Please join Blue America in helping Coussoule in his grassroots bid to replace Boehner.]

What brought on the nervous nay-saying from sleazy Republican politicians like Cantor was that 290,000 new jobs were generated in March. See that chart up top? Cantor and Ryan and Boehner did and they are panic-stricken. It's their worst nightmare coming true-- the disastrous economy they created with their conservative nostrums turning around with the application of tried and true progressive policies. Christina Romer, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, posted this explanation on the White House blog this morning:
Today’s employment report shows the strongest signs yet of healing in the labor market, as private nonfarm payrolls expanded substantially. At the same time, the rise in the unemployment rate reminds us of how far we still have to go before the economy is fully recovered.

Payroll employment increased by 290,000 in April-- the largest one month employment gain since March 2006. Of this total, 231,000 was in the private sector. Hiring related to the decennial Census contributed 66,000 to the total. The payroll employment numbers for February and March were also revised up substantially (by 53,000 and 68,000, respectively). The current numbers now show that employment has grown in each of the past four months.
The job gains were spread widely across sectors. Construction, manufacturing, professional and business services, education and health, and hospitality and leisure all added jobs. Indeed, the rise in manufacturing employment of 44,000 was the largest since August 1998. One area of weakness was state and local government, which reduced employment by 6,000. Temporary help employment grew more slowly than in previous months (+26,000), suggesting that firms may be moving to more permanent hiring. The average workweek for all employees on nonfarm payrolls increased by 1/10 of an hour and is up 3/10 of an hour since December.

In the household survey, the unemployment rate rose to 9.9 percent. This is obviously a very high rate, and reducing it must remain the fundamental focus of policy. Importantly, the rise in the unemployment rate in April was driven largely by a surge in the labor force. The labor force increased by 805,000, while employment as measured by the household survey increased by 550,000.

Even with 66,000 jobs attributable to the census, what has the GOP freaking out is that 231,000 private sector jobs were created. As economist Dean Baker pointed out this morning, "the employment gains since October have been entirely among less educated workers. Employment of college grads is down by 474,000, while employment for those with some college is down by 61,000. By comparison, employment of people with just a high school degree has risen 1,054,000 and employment of people without a high school degree rose by 347,000." And even the assholes on Morning Joe couldn't deny this was good news (for America-- if not for the Republican Party).

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