What will today's job numbers mean for the election? I don't know but I suspect not too much.
What should they mean? Absolutely nothing.
way in which we await these estimates during election cycles would be
amusing were it not so wrongheaded. We act as if some oracle is about to
give us the one missing bit of information that will permit the
"independent-minded' to pass judgment on the performance of the
We'll hear the normal spin today. There are new
jobs but the unemployment rate is up. The unemployment rate is up but
more people are in the work force. More people are in the work force but
labor force participation rates remain down and the "real" rate of
unemployment is still much higher than the official rate.
is what we know. We've known it for a long time. The recovery has been
awful - historically awful. It is one of the worst in our history. There
is no room to argue about that.
What we do differ on is why
this is so. The President's supporters say it is because the recession
was so deep. His critics point to evidence that this is a mistaken
assumption - deep recessions tend to be followed by more robust recoveries.
They argue that the President has spent mightily - turning the federal
government into a fiscal basket case - with no discernible effect.
believe that the critics have the far better case. You may differ. One
month's job report is unlikely to - and really should not - cause either
of us to change our minds.
Cross posted at Purple Wisconsin