America is… back?? If the standard is that job creation barely surpassed population growth for the last month on record, four years into the great Economic Unpleasantness, then you betcha. We’re rich again! Money! Pie! War! The economy added a smashing 163,000 nonfarm payroll jobs in July, while June’s figure was revised down to a mere 64,000. (And keep in mind that this is all seasonally adjusted, so no one actually has any goddamn clue how many jobs were created at any point.) The unemployment rate itself ticked up to 8.3%, as people returned to (or exited? keep reading!) the labor force to not find jobs. As we’ve seen throughout the last year or two, a major lag on job figures (besides “no aggregate demand whatsoever”) comes from the public sector, where everyone has been fired several times. But hey, maybe that’s the best thing that ever happened to them?
The first place we looked for sound economic interpretation was the Washington Post‘s Right Turn blog, where each and every day Jennifer Rubin transcribes spin from the Mitt Romney presidential campaign. We don’t argue with the fact that, despite this decent month, the economy is still pretty much stalled, but Rubin takes this a step further and contradicts herself and looks funny, within the first paragraph:
The jobs numbers today, to no one’s surprise, were once again lousy. The unemployment rate is up to 8.3 percent. We did add 163,000 jobs, which is better than in the past few months, but the labor pool once again shrank, this time by 150,000 people. June’s jobs number was revised downward from 80,000 to 64,000. We are going in the wrong direction.
What is with that labor force number, though? This is something that’s really odd today: A bunch of news reports, not just hilarious Jen Rubin, have been saying that the unemployment rate ticked up in spite of 163,000 news jobs because so many people exited the labor force, which seems to be the opposite of math.
CNN MONEY offers what we assume is the right explanation, that economic data is bullshit so who knows?
The government’s monthly jobs report comes from two separate surveys: one that looks at employer payrolls, and the other which questions households. Those two reports went in opposite directions in July, confusing the overall reading on the job market.
“There are two sides of this report, and unfortunately both sides are not telling us the same thing,” said Ellen Zentner, senior U.S. economist for Nomura. “This is a report showing the economy expanded at a greater pace in July than in June, but households are still telling us they’re in pain.”