Friday, November 02, 2012

Final Pre-election Jobs Report a Mixed Blessing

American job creation improved in October with 171,000 new jobs, yet the unemployment rate moved higher to 7.9%. Also, the the Labor Department revised upward by 34,000 the new jobs total initially reported last month, and likewise moved August's numbers higher by 50,000. CNBC’s Jeff Cox called the report “better than expected but still representative of tepid growth that is doing little to generate escape velocity for the slow-moving economy.”

Today’s job report is the last before Tuesday’s election. We proclaim (see chart below) Obama has reached his minimum target: more people, finally, at last, and at the last minute, have jobs today than were employed when Obama took office--194,000 more, in fact.  

But America has added 6.1 million people since Obama took over--way more than the net 194,000 job gain over nearly four years. But since Obama earlier chose to brag about the number of jobs created rather than net job growth, he cannot at the final hour start talking up net job growth.  But Obama, having jumped all over the (separately calculated) unemployment rate of 7.8% last month, has to stay silent as that rate moves up to 7.9%.

In short, Obama can’t brag about either figure in the chart below. Nevertheless, we’ve watched the monthly job reports for years, and nevertheless we note Obama hit both (one in September, lost in October, the other only in October) of his minimum job growth and unemployment targets.

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