Good News/Bad News on unemployment.

Good news: thanks in large part to Census hiring, April job creation almost made the minimum replacement rate.

The American economy added 290,000 jobs in April, which was much better than expected despite temporary hiring for the 2010 U.S. Census. Excluding Census workers, 224,000 nonfarm jobs were created, with the unemployment rate edging up to 9.9% from 9.7%, the Labor Department reported Friday.

Bad news: unemployment went up to 9.9%.  I’ll leave it to my readers to decide which is more important.

Moe Lane

PS: The general mood?  “That’s nice, but the stock market almost went for a dance off of the Grand Canyon yesterday.”

Crossposted to RedState.


  • Brendan says:

    I think you’re misreading the latest employment report. 66,000 new census workers would only be about 20% of the new hires. Doesn’t really meet the definition of “in large part”. Plus that figure is dwarfed by the 166,000 jump in private sector payrolls.
    I’m not sure where you picked up the bit about the minimum replacement rate since it was not cited in the link. I work in the economics industry and have never heard of the term. I think you’re misinterpreting the rise in unemployment. The question is whether job growth is outpacing the growth of the labor force. Historically the US needs about 100,000 new jobs every month to compensate for population/labor force growth. So we’re on track. Unemployment only spiked this month because discouraged workers started looking for jobs again. But that will not continue to happen forever. Point being that if we added 290,000 jobs continually, unemployment will eventually drop.
    Also it’s important to not that the payrolls figure and the unemployment rate are products of two different surveys even though they’re published in the same report, so they are not always going to be consistent.

  • Brendan says:

    Thanks for the link. I was just curious how we were defining the replacement rate. Krugman is stating that its the “if the recession never happened” scneario where you add all the jobs lost plus the ones we should’ve added over that period.
    On first reading I thought the notion of trying to accomplish that in 5 years seemed pretty arbitrary, but Krugman’s not a dumb guy and I’d guess its deliberate. If you assume a two-term Obama presidency, then 5 years is probably the window of time where his economic policies could have a noticeable effect while he’s still in office. From this view, Krugman’s effort is clear. He’s just trying to set the bar impossibly high.
    So in your effort to ensnare some liberal commenters, I think you may have accidentally ended up agreeing with Krugman’s argument, the economy has deteriorated so significantly that expecting Obama to fix it while in office is unreasonable. There’s plenty of things about Obama’s performance to be critical of, failing to achieve Krugman’s dream scenario isn’t one of them.

    • Moe_Lane says:

      Not really: Krugman’s argument assumes that the Left’s current fiscal-raid-masquerading-as-financial-policy is capable of somehow fixing the economy: which is of course nonsensical. Which is the major problem with Krugman: he’s by all accounts an excellent technician, but ask him to work out the politics and he starts drooling worse than a basset hound.

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