For the second month in a row, the monthly jobs report published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics has been weak. The economy added only 110,000 jobs in the month of April, far below what is necessary to keep pace with population growth. The unemployment rate did go down from 8.2% to 8.1% but this is only because more people became discouraged and dropped out of the work force. That’s bad.
The small bit of good news (very small) is that the March numbers were revised up from 121,000 jobs to 154,000 jobs, and February was revised up from 240,000 to 259,000.
Here’s the updated chart showing monthly jobs gains and the “magic number” lines from Nate Silver and Ezra Klein that attempt to correlate the jobs numbers with the president’s reelection chances.
You can see that if Ezra Klein’s analysis is to be believed the president has just become an underdog for re-election.
Conservatives, of course, would never celebrate bad news for America, right? Right? I should point out (as I did in the first of these back in February) that these numbers have nothing to do with whether I personally feel that Barack Obama should be reelected; I am enthusiastically supporting him. Nor do I believe that conservatives will see good numbers and decide to vote for Obama, because many of them have honest ideological differences with the president and believe that Mitt Romney would make a better president. And that’s all fine. These “magic numbers” are just approximations of what effect the employment situation will have on the election.
Also, I also just recently read a pretty fantastic piece on Cracked.com (no, seriously, read it) about how political reporting is so worthless.
OK, you know about the huge fight over health care reform in America, right? Whether you think it’s a good or a bad plan, you can’t deny that it’s freaking huge (to the tune of a trillion dollars over 10 years, and 31 million people getting health insurance). It will impact almost every single human being living in the United States, either through their personal ability to get coverage, or their taxes, or changing health care costs, or changing rules to their existing coverage — there are dozens and dozens of new regulations that completely change the landscape of one of the largest sectors of the national economy.
So, when the Supreme Court recently threatened to completely overturn this gargantuan piece of legislation, how did it get reported?
The ruling could deal a blow to the “Obama presidency”? Fuck you.
When partisan hacks like me look at these jobs numbers and interpret them only in terms of the president’s chances in November, it’s important to remember that these numbers represent real people with real lives and real problems, and they don’t care as much about the president’s job as their own, nor should they.
Previous report here.