Thursday, April 01, 2004

Monthly Jobs Report

Monthly jobs report comes out tomorrow. Look for the spin army to fan out to every media outlet if the numbers are anything even resembling good. Look for Chao, Snow, and Mankiw to be bunkered down with Cheney if aren't good.

But, before the bobble-heads start on the news, let's remind ourselves what "good" actually is. Anything less than 140,000 is definitely "bad." It takes about 140,000 new jobs per months just to keep up with the working age population. So, when we're thinking about the number of net new jobs, just subtract off 140,000 off the bat.

The next point of comparison is the administration's own predictions. They've made so many different ones that it's hard to know which one to use at the point of comparison. Probably the approprate one to use is the one they used to justify their last tax cut, which was sold as a jobs program, proving that we are indeed "all Keynesians now."

They promised an average of 306,000 jobs per month through the end of 2004. They haven't actually achieved anything close to that in a single month, let alone on average.

So, let's choose our criteria in advance. Anything under 140K is seriously bad. A number between 140K and 240K isn't particularly good, but at least a sign that things could be picking up. And, anything under 306K is proof that the tax cuts are not working as promised.