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Jobs Numbers: The Good, The Bad, The Meh


Jobs Numbers: The Good, The Bad, The Meh


Some good news lurks in today’s jobs numbers, but we’re still a long way away from a real recovery.

The new jobs numbers are out. Overall, 212,000 private sector jobs were created while 12,000 government jobs were lost, for a net total of 200,000 job gains. That loss, 12,000, is less than the average 23,000 government jobs that were lost per month in 2011, so it boosts the headline number. Yet 12,000 is still a lot to lose, especially when so many of those numbers come from education — at least 9,000 local-level education jobs were cut.

Where’s the good news? There were solid increases in weekly hours (+0.5%) and payroll (+0.7%), meaning employed people are getting more money in their pockets. With more money, they can spend more, which will employ other people and create a virtuous loop of spending and employment. This will help boost demand broadly and start to add some energy to a depressed economy. If sustained, it could help take the current jobs reports — which are good but not enough to end the unemployment crisis we currently have — and turn them into jobs numbers capable of bringing about a serious recovery.

But there’s also an apparent queue for who will get jobs first. Right now we are seeing most job gains go to men and to those with higher education. Men have been gaining jobs over women across industries and occupations throughout 2011 — and in the household survey women lost jobs last month. The employment-to-population ratio went down to 53 percent for women last month, bringing it to the lowest levels since 1988. The Roosevelt Institute will be doing additional research on this topic in 2012.


  1. SteveHanken January 7, 2012

    It sounds like Bush II all over again, you want to help your country, go spend some money! The logic is just not there. The more you spend the less you have and the more the corporations have, which continues the problem that started all this in the first place. If you spend it locally, that would help because every locally spent dollar gets recycled a number of times before it eventually ends up back in the same rat hole, the 1% moneybank. The only way to deal with this is decentralize everything, turn as much into cooperative ventures that distribute wealth among those who contribute to the over all profit or loss of the company. I want my neighbors to succeed as well as I want myself to succeed; Do I care if some Corporation based in Pittsburgh that banks all its money in off shore tax dodges succeed? HELL NO!Scale this economy back to something we can all get our hands around, when the Corporations get so big they can dictate terms on every issue, then it is time to eliminate the problem and re-establish who really is in charge here. I would say we want those who truly are the living and breathing entities that have first names and kids, so they won’t poison us, gas us, destroy the drinking water we all need to survive, make us sick, or kill us off just to make a profit.

  2. Ginico January 7, 2012

    Santorum stated “the reason the jobs picture is getting better is because businesses know that Obama is on his way out” . . . I would counter that with, after looking over the choices for the Republican candidates, they probably realized that they will be much better off with Obama than any of them! I think Obama has done well considering that he has gotten NO help from the right to turn things around. Romny says . . . “I know how to create jobs”, but when you look at his record in the past, it’s very dismal and it appears that he “axed” more jobs than he created, plus his formula is the same old formula that the right has used for 30 years and where has that gotten us, rich getting richer, more falling into poverty, 274% increases in wealth for the top and losses in wages for the other 99%. They continue to lie, saying 47% pay no taxes, when part of that 47% include many millionaires and big Corporations and those who have incomes so low that they pay no federal taxes, pay a larger PERCENTAGE of their income in payroll taxes and local taxes than many millionaires in their combined taxes. It’s time to really turn the corner by re-electing Obama and giving him a Congress that he can work with!

  3. EATHERICH January 7, 2012

    the figures may look like a good thing, however how many of thoese new jobs are fulltime, decent paying real jobs and how many are wal-screw Mc jobs.

  4. dpaano January 9, 2012

    It’s my opinion that the only reason we’re having a problem creating jobs is that most corporations are holding back on hiring in the hopes that it’ll make President Obama look bad in the upcoming elections. I can almost guarantee you that if a Republican idiot is nominated (heaven forbid)…jobs will open up like magic. It’s pretty sad how far the Republicans will go to make our current president a one-term president. Luckily enough, I think there are enough intelligent people out there that won’t allow that to happen. President Obama is doing the best job he can despite all the crap he’s had to put up with from the Republicans and their Tea Party members.

  5. kurt.lorentzen January 9, 2012

    Corporations, whether you paint them as good or evil, are not “holding back” on hiring for 2+ years to affect a political change. Whether you consider their motive for profit to be greed or, as the gurus of economics since the beginning of time say, “creating value for their shareholders”, it’s all about making money. If there is profit to be made by hiring, they will hire. By that same logic, if they are not hiring, it’s because there is no profit potential in doing so. You can blame trade agreements that permit Wal-Mart to import sweatshop-made junk without tarriffs, labor unions who insist employees of American companies should make $70 per hour in wages and benefits, or come up wih a theory of your own. Either way, corporations are as transparant as glass in their single motive of making a profit. It’s not their role to subsidize the populace by hiring when they’re already producing as much as they can sell. It IS all about making it profitable to manufacture on US soil (jobs creation)and be competitive in the international markets (trade deficit reduction and more jobs creation). You can’t put people to work with tax dollars or borrowed money as the source of their wages as a long-term solution. Stop-gap, yes, but you’d better have a plan to get them on the payroll of a company that creates value in the very near future.


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