ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Monday, October 09, 2006

W's Economy

If only there wasn't so much unemployment... I mean, how can people get by and continue to live in an economy which has.... 4.6% unemployment?

Whoops:

The Worker Rally
October 9, 2006; Page A18

The Labor Department released its September jobs report on Friday, and some wags are calling it the "whoops" report. The "whoops" is a reference to the upward revision of 810,000 previously undetected jobs that Labor now says were created in the U.S. economy in the 12 months through March 2006.

So instead of 5.8 million new jobs over the past three years, the U.S. economy has created 6.6 million. That's a lot more than a rounding error, more than the number of workers in the entire state of New Hampshire. What's going on here?

Our hypothesis has been that, due to the changing nature of the U.S. economy, the Labor Department's business establishment survey has been undercounting job creation from small businesses and self-employed entrepreneurs. That job growth has been better captured in Labor's companion household survey, which reported 271,000 new jobs in September after 250,000 new jobs in August, and a very healthy total of 2.54 million new jobs in the past year.

The household survey is what is used to determine the unemployment rate, which fell in September to 4.6%, the lowest level in five years. The establishment survey, meanwhile, is used to announce the monthly "new jobs" numbers. Every year the Labor Department revises its job estimates from the previous year, in essence reconciling the figures from the two surveys, and the missing 810,000 jobs was the result through March 2006.

Getting out of the statistical weeds, the news here is that the U.S. has a very tight labor market -- which is now translating into significant wage gains. Over the past 12 months wages have climbed by 4%, which is the biggest gain since 2001 and which economist Brian Wesbury points out is higher than the 3.3% average annual wage growth of the last 25 years.
[...]
This boom in employment started in August of 2003, roughly coincident with the economy's growth acceleration in the wake of the Bush Administration's 2003 tax cuts on dividends, capital gains and in the top marginal income rate on the highest earners. Yet on the same day that the Labor Department discovered 810,000 new jobs, Nancy Pelosi promised that if she becomes Madam Speaker next year, within 100 hours of taking the gavel the House will vote to repeal those tax cuts and raise the minimum wage. Never underestimate the ways that Washington politicians can do economic harm.


Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler