Two significantly revised economic statistics are out, which the two presidential campaigns will no doubt attempt to spin to their candidates’ advantage. But the net political effect is likely to be minimal.
First, the bad news. Economic growth in the second quarter, originally estimated at an anemic 1.7 percent of GDP, was actually an even more anemic 1.3 percent, the Commerce Department announced. As Reuters notes, that downward revision reflects a better understanding of the impact of “the worst drought in half a century, which gripped large parts of the country in the summer (and) saw farm inventories dropping $5.3 billion in the second quarter.”
(In that same announcement, the WSJ’s MarketWatch notes, “the government said corporate profits climbed $21.8 billion in the second quarter, compared to a prior estimate of a $10.4 million increase.”)
The better news comes out of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which released its regularly scheduled revision of job creation numbers. According to the BLS, the economy created 453,000 more private-sector jobs than reported in the April 2011-March 2012 period. It also lost 67,000 more government jobs that reported, producing a net unreported job growth of 386,000 over previous estimates.
That’s an average of an unreported 30,000 jobs a month over that 12-month period. In political terms, the Obama campaign can now claim that more Americans are working today than when the president took office.
But again, this is hardly earth-shaking news, and combined with the GDP revision, it suggests that this long, hard slog to a better economy is likely to continue a while.
– Jay Bookman