This is the first Friday of the month and so it is once again time for the Bureau of Labor Statistics to release its monthly jobs report. Unfortunately, this report is not nearly as positive as the last three reports had been. The economy added 121,000 jobs last month. The report for January was adjusted down by 9,000 jobs and the report for February was adjusted up by 13,000 jobs.
As I started last month, we’ll be tracking the jobs reports against the “magic number” suggested by Nate Silver in his post from earlier this year. Silver’s magic number of 150,000 average jobs per month line is marked on the graph as well as his “Obama favored” and “Obama underdog” benchmarks. I also included Ezra Klein’s “magic number” (although he didn’t use that phrase) of 200,000 average jobs per month.
This was not a good jobs report for President Obama. While he is still above even Klein’s magic number because of strong growth in January and February, if jobs are only added at this rate for the rest of the year, he will fall below Silver’s underdog line by November.
Again, these “magic numbers” are not definitive and employment is only one factor (albeit a large one) that will determine Mr. Obama’s reelection chances. Still, I have to admit to being disappointed, especially after the ADP numbers released earlier this week suggested growth would be closer to 200,000 jobs.
Mitt Romney wasted no time in criticizing the president for this report.
“This is a weak and very troubling jobs report that shows the employment market remains stagnant,” Romney said in a statement. “Millions of Americans are paying a high price for President Obama’s economic policies, and more and more people are growing so discouraged that they are dropping out of the labor force altogether. It is increasingly clear the Obama economy is not working and that after three years in office the president’s excuses have run out.”
Gosh, it’s almost like bad news is good news for him.