Jobs Report: Politicans, Investors Offer Competing Explanations
Economists were cautious to celebrate, noting that the jobs report was not entirely good news and that the unemployment rate remained flat at 9.1 percent. Specific qualms included an underwhelming jobs growth rate compared to population growth, an increase in the number of underemployed workers and a lack of added jobs for women.
The Guardian took note of comments made by Rob Carnell from ING:
Overall, this month's labour market report was as unexpectedly good as last month's was unexpectedly bad. This is still not a strong labour market, and the Fed will not be too fazed by this report, leaving QE3 as a likely result from the 2 November FOMC meeting.
In the same article, the trading director at MB Capital Marcus Bullus said the mixed nature of the jobs report would actually hurt the economy by providing less incentive for regulators to take action:
These numbers will take the pressure off Ben Bernanke for QE3 and remove a degree of urgency among US policymakers. That can only be a bad thing.
CEO of PIMCO Mohamed A. El-Erian told Bloomberg that the report was “better than expected, but it doesn’t get us out of the unemployment crisis that we have.”
El-Erian said rising underemployment and teen unemployment figures outlined in the report were particularly alarming.
Expectedly, politicians and lawmakers used the new numbers to advance their own agendas, as both sides agreed the better-than-expected numbers weren’t enough.
The Obama administration cited the absence of definitive good news as a reason to push the President’s jobs plan. Katherine Abraham of the Council of Economic Advisors made the argument:
Today’s report underscores the President’s call for Congress to pass the American Jobs Act to put more money in the pockets of working and middle class families; to make it easier for small businesses to hire workers; to keep teachers in the classroom; to put construction crews to work rebuilding our nation’s infrastructure; and other measures that will help the economy grow while not adding to the deficit over ten years.
On the other side, Chair of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus argued that Friday’s “disappointing jobs report” was reason not to trust Obama on policy issues.
“After putting $825 billion on the nation’s credit card only to have 32 straight months of unemployment at 8 percent or above, it is remarkable that the President would double down on the same policies at the tune of nearly half a trillion dollars in more ‘stimulus’ spending,” Priebus said.
House Speaker John Boehner also took the opportunity to criticize the administration’s handling of the economic crisis.
From the Washington Post:
“These sad numbers show that more Washington spending, threats of higher taxes on small businesses, and excessive government regulations don’t create a healthy environment for job growth,” said House Speaker John Boehner (Ohio).
Despite both sides rallying around the jobs report to their advantage, the Washington Post reports that neither side had seen any gain.
From the same article:
The reality is that neither side holds much political high ground on the economy at the moment.
In the latest Washington Post-ABC News poll, more than six in ten (61 percent) disapprove of how President Obama is handling the economy while 76 percent disapprove of how Republicans in Congress are dealing with it.
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