A top White House economics spokesman cautions against reading too much into a single month of employment data — and we concur: One month isn’t enough. So how about 44 months instead?
‘Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression,” Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on Friday.
But no matter how the White House tries to spin it, August’s jobs data, in perspective with the preceding 43 months, were terrible.
Yes, unemployment came in at 8.1% — down from 8.3% the month before. But an improvement? Hardly. Unemployment has been above 8% for 43 straight months — a record.
The only reason the jobless rate fell in August was 368,000 people left the labor force, pushing labor force participation down to a 31-year low of 63.5%. Some 23 million people either don’t have jobs, are looking for full-time work or are underemployed.
And the numbers are even worse than they look.