Daily Kos: The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday morning that, seasonally adjusted, the economy created 103,000 new private jobs in August, and shed 7,000 government jobs for a net gain of 96,000. The consensus of experts surveyed ahead of time by Bloomberg was that there would be a net gain of 125,000. The official unemployment rate fell to 8.1 percent, mostly because of a shrinking work force.
August 2003: – 45,000
August 2004: +122,000
August 2005: +193,000
August 2006: +183,000
August 2007: – 18,000
August 2008: – 274,000
August 2009: – 231,000
August 2010: – 51,000 (worsened by Census layoffs)
August 2011: + 85,000
August 2012: + 96,000
Is it good enough? No, but you already know that. It is better than your average gotcha headline will lead you to believe, however.
Also keep in mind that when there were great job numbers during the Bush years, that was thanks to PUBLIC SECTOR hiring — government jobs. From Salon:
But the real eye-opener comes when we compare Obama’s numbers to George W. Bush’s. In Bush’s first term, the economy shed 913,000 private sector jobs! 913,000! The only thing that saved Bush’s first term from being a complete economic disaster, in terms of employment, was robust public sector growth: The economy added 900,000 government jobs. One wonders: Without the massive growth in the public sector during Bush’s first term, would he have been reelected?
[...] Of course, Obama isn’t running against Bush, so that’s moot. But as this presidential campaign heats up, it might be worth periodically reminding ourselves: Bush led the U.S. economy out of a weak recession with strong public sector growth. Obama is leading the U.S. economy out of a near-death experience while a steadily shrinking government swells the unemployment rolls. Which magic trick do you think is harder?
In other words, if the Republicans in Congress today worked for America under the Obama Administration the same way they worked for America during Bush’s Administration, we’d be in much better shape. Obviously government workers aren’t the enemy when there’s a Republican in the White House. And if your top priority is to make Obama a one-term president, you make the country’s employment situation worse by blocking government hiring on every level (city, state, federal) while demonizing government workers.
Ezra Klein: Since Obama was elected, the public sector has lost about 600,000 jobs. If you put those jobs back, the unemployment rate would be 7.8 percent. But what if we did more than that? At this point in George W. Bush’s administration, public-sector employment had grown by 3.7 percent. That would be equal to a bit over 800,000 jobs today. If you add those hypothetical jobs, the unemployment rate falls to 7.3 percent.
By the way, President Obama introduced The American Jobs Act a year ago, which is also exactly when the Republicans began blocking it.