“Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 155,000 in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment increased in health care, food services and drinking places, construction, and manufacturing….
The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for October was revised from +138,000 to +137,000, and the change for November was revised from +146,000 to +161,000.”
Just to be clear, these are seasonally adjusted numbers, which means these 155,000 new jobs come on top of hiring that would normally be expected in the Christmas season.
While we’re on the subject, I’d also like to address this claim by John Boehner yesterday as he accepted the speaker’s gavel for another two-year term:
“Our government has built up too much debt. Our economy is not producing enough jobs. These are not separate problems.
At $16 trillion and rising, our national debt is draining free enterprise and weakening the ship of state.
The American Dream is in peril so long as its namesake is weighed down by this anchor of debt. Break its hold, and we begin to set our economy free. Jobs will come home. Confidence will come back.”
As economic analysis, that’s just total baloney. While our national debt constitutes a long-term challenge, it is not causing or exacerbating our current economic situation. If “our national debt is draining free enterprise,” if “this anchor of debt” is dragging us down, as Boehner alleges, then federal borrowing to finance the deficit would be driving interest rates sky high, making it difficult for private companies to borrow money.
That simply is not happening. The prime interest rate is 3.25 percent, exactly what it was a year ago. In fact, you’d have to go back to 1955 or earlier to find a lower prime rate. We have a lot of problems with the economy, but government borrowing driving out private borrowers is not one of them.
I don’t know whether Boehner actually believes that nonsense, or whether he’s just drawing what he hopes to be a politically useful connection. Either way, he is pushing a grossly misleading diagnosis.
– Jay Bookman