Arnold Kling  

Jobs Come Marching

PRINT
Affective Forecasting Errors... Bundling II...

In my favorite musical, The Music Man, there is climactic scene in which the mayor calls for Professor Harold Hill to be tarred and feathered. "Where's the band?" the mayor shouts rhetorically. "Where's the Band?" Whereupon the boys in the town march into the room with their shiny uniforms and instruments.

For months, critics of the economic recovery have been shouting "Where's the jobs?" In today's report on the labor market in March, employment as measured by the establishment survey rose by over 300,000, the largest increase in four years.

Before you start humming "76 Trombones," I should note that the workweek fell last month, which means the the index of aggregate hours declined slightly. That in turn means that my labor capacity utilization index continues to slump.

For Discussion. Would a few more months of job gains of this magnitude blunt the outsourcing controversy?


Comments and Sharing





COMMENTS (16 to date)
Eric Krieg writes:

A few more months of 300,000 jobs will not only blunt the outsourcing talk, but will ensure that Dubya will be re-elected in a landslide.

BUT...

Let's see if this number doesn't get revised downward.

Also, let's see IF the numbers over the next couple of months are as strong. More than likely this is a fluke (Although I have noticed that the jobs boards that I frequent have become a little more active lately).

Take a rolling average over the last couple of months. We had no jobs in February, a ton in March, and it averages out to a normal jobs growth number.

Eric Krieg writes:

I have mixed feelings about the jobs numbers. We need steady, slowly increasing numbers, not the volatility that we have seen lately.

I also don't want to see an end to these rock bottom interest rates nor the weak dollar. The lack of jobs growth is the only thing restraining interest rates and the dollar.

Stan Morris writes:

The upward surge needs to continue if the outsourcing dicussion is to be blunted. Otherwise, the White House Correspondent will switch to the Reporter in the Rust Belt who will stand in front of some unemployed preson and say

But Joe Lunchbucket has been out of work three months when is job was outsourced to Ebonia and he hasn't found a job yet.
similar to what was done to Bush 41 in 92.

Stan Morris writes:

The upward surge needs to continue if the outsourcing dicussion is to be blunted. Otherwise, the White House Correspondent will switch to the Reporter in the Rust Belt who will stand in front of some unemployed preson and say

But Joe Lunchbucket has been out of work three months when is job was outsourced to Ebonia and he hasn't found a job yet.
similar to what was done to Bush 41 in 92.

Stan Morris writes:

The upward surge needs to continue if the outsourcing dicussion is to be blunted. Otherwise, the White House Correspondent will switch to the Reporter in the Rust Belt who will stand in front of some unemployed preson and say

But Joe Lunchbucket has been out of work three months when is job was outsourced to Ebonia and he hasn't found a job yet.
similar to what was done to Bush 41 in 92.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

You gave me grounds to propagate again, Arnold. My take on the March figures:

Eat Crow--Maybe - 4/2/2004 8:44:43 AM The March Job report is out, and the increase in Jobs seems great, but is it? Manufacturing sector hiring was flat, though Hiring is normal in March to meet the Supply commitments for Contractors and Summer recreation. Flat is bad! Retail trade gained 13,000, but a number of Grocery strikes ended--but wait; didn't 20,000 Strikers return to work? Construction was up 71,000, which seems good, though the total was almost all in Specialty Trade contractor employment. January and Febuary was bad weather, programable bad weather in terms of amounts of damage incurred, requiring Specialty Trade contractors to fix. Levels of damage by scope of bad weather suggests there should have been 200,000 new Hires in March to correct problems, people might not have the wherewithal to immediately fix these problems. Government employment increased by 31,000, seasonally adjusted below normal yearly readouts.

The fact that the Manufacturing sector hiring was flat is the most worrisome. Hiring in this sector is long-term employment, though often with seasonal Layoffs. The increases in other sectors all indicate short-term employment, except for Government hiring. The Author is counting on his fingers again, but still thinks there has been a loss of 7000 Jobs in the Retail sector. The financial sector is depressing, because Mortgage refinancing must come to a end someday, and this sector will resume it's Job loss pattern shortly. We are still in the 'Lean Cow' era. lgl

David Thomson writes:

The odds just jumped up dramatically that George W. Bush will be reelected. John Kerry’s people must be close to committing suicide. The economy should keep on improving. The liberal media will have to find some new dirt to throw on the President. Last week, it was Richard Clarke. What could it be in the near future? Have these sleaze balls run out of manufactured outrages? Oh well, I’m sure we will find out soon enough.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

My previous article said there was a loss of 7000 Jobs in the Retail sector, but it was in the Grocery sector. The Retail sector gained 47,000 Jobs, as did the Health industry sector; both, though, possess insulation from recessionary effects to a degree, as they are necessary Product provision to the Public.

David,
George W. Bush needs a lot more than March's labor increases. He will need 200,000 new Jobs a month until the election, just to match Herbert Hoover's record. Clarke is a Republican who served two Republican Presidents, as well as Clinton. It is interesting that the Bush administration refuses to allow files of a previous Democratic administration to be given to an investigatory commission, especially and only because it puts their efforts in a bad light.

Arnold,
The controversey about outsourcing will continue, no matter what Job creation is obtained. Labor only sees high-paying Jobs going to foreign competition, while they preceive no advocate for themselves on the Issue. lgl

David Thomson writes:

“David,
George W. Bush needs a lot more than March's labor increases. He will need 200,000 new Jobs a month until the election, just to match Herbert Hoover's record.”

You need to look at the polls. Most Americans have no idea that Herbert Hoover was once the President of the United States. On top of that, the population was much smaller during his time in the White House. No, President Bush has got it made. The odds favor improving economic numbers. The Democrat nominee has no more than a 20% chance of beating the incumbent. Are there pictures of Bush enjoying sex with a farm animal? If not, it’s his election to lose.

Sandy P. writes:

40K in CA grocery jobs, IIRC.

Also, as to housing, I have a couple of friends in the mort. bus. Not all refi by a long shot. It's spring and the for sale signs are up. And they're busy.

My husband is in mfg, as a middleman. We're surprised, he's up 10% over last year at this point in time.

My BIL put his house of for sale in Dallas last year. Very few nibbles, then w/in a short period of time, 2 offers, one at full price.

And just got an order he didn't expect.

Incidentals, I know, but if it's happening to us, it's happening in other places.

NV has it's lowest unemp. rate in 3 years. We're going there in May and I'm going to help it get lower, much to my husband's dismay.

And Bill Hobbs is doing an interesting survey on LLC formation in each state. You should check it out.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

One month does not a Boom make! There are several structural flaws existent in the Economy, and seasonal adjustment of the March figures does not indicate a great surge in Job creation, though it may mean a great surge in Bush popularity. A P/E analysis set in economic performance/governmental stimilus may suggest a bad bargain.

Bush may be reelected, or Kerry may win; neither case will mean a fundamental change in Federal economic policy, though Politicians like to claim vast differences. What We are talking about is a potential gain or loss of less than $100b of tax revenue, in a $10t Economy. Are either Republican or Democratic Economists up to the challenge of dealing with the real flaws of economic performance: excessive Government spending, excessive Corporate expenditure accounting, dropping percentage Labor participation in Profit sharing, escalating Health Care and Pension costs, dropping Quality Control values, and accelerating Resource costs? These must be resolved to get a truly Boom economy. lgl

Sandy P. writes:

One thing I never see reported is how many immigrants have we absorbed since 2000?

4 million?

DOes that make a difference? They find work.

Thorley Winston writes:

Lawrance George Lux wrote:

Clarke is a Republican who served two Republican Presidents, as well as Clinton.

I don’t know where you got that Richard Clarke was a Republican since according to OpenSecrets.org, all of his political campaign contributions have been to Democrats.

Lawrance George Lux writes:

Thorley,
Again a sudden new truth! I get my information from direct testimony under oath by Clarke. Isn't it wonderous how new Internet websites spring up, tellin the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. lgl

Sandy P. writes:

And VA is an open primary. There was no dem opposition during the 2000 primary, he took a McCain ballot.

In IL, we have to declare. I took a Vallas (D) ballot in the 2000 primary, that does not make me a dem by any stretch of the imagination, especially when I scored 58 on the libertarian test.

It's kind of like people who think countries are democratic because they allow the people to vote.

Under that definition, Russia, Cuba and Iraq were democratic.

winterspeak writes:

I like LUCY. But I'm not sure if I would index Dec 99 at 1. If I recall correctly, the economy was at way above full capacity then, with capital being moved to unproductive uses (both in terms of bad investments being made, but also in terms of people who really ought to be in school or at home entering the labor force).

I'm guessing that 1.00 in LUCY ought to be at whatever the labor force involvement is to generate NAIRU, whatever that happens to be.

In part, I think today's weak business climate is because people still expect life to feel like the 90s.

Comments for this entry have been closed
Return to top