U.S. Economy Adds 290,000 Jobs In April

by Ben Hoffman

The economy is recovering, thanks in part to the stimulus bill passed last February. Here’s a graph of the change in number of jobs during the past two years:

The stimulus was passed in February of 2009. By April, the rate of job loss had slowed dramatically and now we’re seeing good positive growth. Coincidence? Maybe. But it certainly didn’t hurt.

Read more…

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75 Comments to “U.S. Economy Adds 290,000 Jobs In April”

  1. Good heavens, Ben, don’t you realize that we’re now gaining jobs thanks to the wise policies of teh Bush?

  2. Ms. Holland,

    ” Good heavens, Ben, don’t you realize that we’re now gaining jobs thanks to the wise policies of teh Bush? ”

    What does teh mean ? I do hope that while you are patting your hero Barak on on the back, you note that 66,000 of those 290,000 jobs are temporary Census jobs .

    Here is a news flash for you and your whole Progressive movement . This will not get the job done. We will have to create an ” average ” 283,000 jobs per month to get the unemployment rate down to 5% at the close of 2014 .

    Yea, congratulations on a good month . Not good enough, but better than you’ve done until now .

    • Alan, please look at the chart Ben posted. Or look at Google’s public data and you will find some facts:

      CLINTON – From 8% in Jan ’93 (thanks Ronnie) to 3.9% in Jan ’00

      BUSH – From 3.9% in Jan ’00 (thanks Bill) to 8.5% in Jan ’09 (thanks George).

      (Today is 9.9 and it is projected to go to 10)

      By the way, in the last nine months of Bush we went from 4.9 to 8.5; in the first nine months of Obama, we went from 8.5 to 9.4.

      You’re right about the ‘not good enough’. But so far, Obama’s administration seems to have slowed the job loss and now we’ve had our first good month in a few years.

  3. I tried looking but couldn’t find it – do we know how many were public sector vs. private sector? Not trying to stoke the fire here, just curious.

    • I tried looking too but it gets wonky. You read wonk – try here:
      http://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.nr0.htm

      Alan – journeys begin with a single step.

    • April’s job gains come as job numbers for prior months were also revised upward. In all, nonfarm employers have added 573,000 jobs since December, with 483,000 of those coming in the private sector and the rest in government.

      The private service sector, which accounts for most employment, gained 166,000 jobs [in April]. Only 26,000 of those were temporary positions (lower than in other recent months), a sign that more businesses feel confident about permanent hiring.

      Read more…

      • Thanks, Ben. The govt still doesn’t have a good way to measure or understand small business or small business growth, in part because they’re using (/stuck with) with antiquated ways of measuring (farm vs. non-farm). This is unfortunate, but nice to see some job growth nonetheless.

  4. Mr. Hoffman,

    ” a sign that more businesses feel confident about permanent hiring. ”

    Why would they feel confident when they have a President that hates them ? The only confident businesses are the crony capitalists who contribute to Obama’s agenda .

    Ever hear of ” Blood and Gore ” ? That’s the nick name for Generation Investment Management. It is run by a former Goldman Sachs guy, David Blood and Vice President Al Gore . It owns a lot of the Chicago Climate Exchange . These are the Carbon emission permits clearing house people .

    I bet the former Goldman guy can think up a lot of worthless carbon credit swaps that will rival the Credit Default Swaps that helped bring down the banking industry .

    These are the kind of worthless businesses that your hero likes .

  5. Ms. Holland,

    ” Alan – journeys begin with a single step. ”

    Gee, that’s as valuable as hope and change . But, lets explore your words . I think your hero has made giant leaps, not steps, into quick sand . When Oil prices go up next year and your hero demonizes oil company profits, but that does not bring down prices, what will he do ? Subsidize more useless green collar industries and further explode the deficit .

    Yes we are taking steps to become Greece and Spain. Greece is controlled by public sector unions who cannot get it through their skulls that they caused the problem . Then you have Spain which bet the farm by quadrupling subsidies to solar power. The solar bubble burst and Spain has 19% unemployment .

    This is the path President Obama is taking my Country down with his single steps .

  6. [This is the path President Obama is taking my Country down with his single steps .]

    This is the path Obama is taking MY country and I’m cool with a lot of it, but I still think he hasn’t been sufficiently agressive against the investment banks. Not nearly.

    • [This is the path Obama is taking MY country and I’m cool with a lot of it]

      Same here. We’re starting to get back on the road to American exceptionalism but we’re still mired pretty deep in right-wing sludge.

      • Writing on that ‘right wing sludge’ subjet right now. I’m sure you noticed the difference between media coverage of tea parties (endless video and breathless commentary about what it all means) and media coverage of recent immigration marches – it was one day I think.

        And the immigration marches attracted about five times the people who show up for the tea party stuff.

      • I don’t think the right offered much of anything by way of health care reform, but I do think they’ve got valid points regarding Wall Street reform that I hope are taken into consideration (more bailout possibilities, creation of yet another new government agency, etc.).

        Let’s not forget that you’ve got guys like Geithner and Dodd behind this thing, as well as lobby groups such as the Coalition for Business Finance Reform which is chock full of Obama and Geithner’s buddies. With what I’ve read this bill is being written under the guise of and not for the purpose of “consumer protection.” It also strongly supports derivatives trading and yet another “bailout”-type position as before. No doubt the financial and agriculture lobbyists are having their influence here.

        I’ll take reform from either side if it is substantive, but we need to face the reality here that if Wall Street reform doesn’t start with Fed reform and Lobbyist reform, it will mean hardly anything at the end of the day except more tax dollars going to waste. In the end, all this will amount to is political points and more kool-aid.

      • Vern – it’ll be fun to watch the ‘audit the Fed’ bill from Bernie Sanders(!) work it’s way – or not – through the Senate. Didn’t Ron Paul already got it through the House?

        I continue to be deeply disappointed in Obama’s economic team – Summers is one of the designers of this ‘shadow banking’ stuff. Of course, Paulson was right in there and so was Geithner. Advocates for reform face powerful powerful interests.

      • And may I add that public financing of campaigns would make a HUGE difference. Congress critters wouldn’t be beholden to those who finance their campaigns and most importantly they’d be freed from the need to raise money all the time. They could, like, govern instead.

      • Hi Moe,

        I’m curious as well. I read about Bernie Sanders’ efforts on Politico (http://www.politico.com/arena/perm/Bernie_Sanders_8EBC062F-2394-409D-A671-918E6CBEDFEF.html).

        My concern is that the debates we face right now are being argued at an ideological level and not a practical one. While we argue about who’s more Nazi or more Socialist, lobby groups and special interests continue to get their way. The best time for them to work to get their way, too, is during chaos when Americans are looking the other way.

      • [they could, like, govern instead]
        Where would be the fun (and perks!) in that?!

      • [I’m curious as well. I read about Bernie Sanders’ efforts on Politico ]

        That has about as much chance of passing as Alan voting for a Democrat in this fall’s election.

        I agree with almost everything Sanders proposes and he is an avowed socialist. Hmmmm…

      • [While we argue about who’s more Nazi or more Socialist, lobby groups and special interests continue to get their way.]

        Otherwise known as Bread & Circuses.

  7. Ms. Holland,

    ” This is the path Obama is taking MY country and I’m cool with a lot of it, ”

    That’s because you are not unemployed . I bet that you also do not work for an industry that Obama The Great dislikes .

    ” but I still think he hasn’t been sufficiently agressive against the investment banks. Not nearly. ”

    You are amazing . Not a single word about the guiltiest of the banks . The GSEs. Why won’t Democrats Frog March ex Fannie and Freddie RICH, EVIL executives up to Capital Hill ? We know why, don’t we ?

    Mr. Hoffman,

    ” We’re starting to get back on the road to American exceptionalism but we’re still mired pretty deep in right-wing sludge. ”

    I keep noticing that you and Olbermann are copying a lot of Right Wing techniques and catch phrases . Rush uses ” American exceptionalism ” a lot . You must really love listening to Rush . 😦

    • [Not a single word about the guiltiest of the banks . The GSEs]

      Didn’t the government take back control of the GSEs? The problem was: their profits were privatized but the risks were socialized. That’s just asking for trouble.

      [Rush uses ” American exceptionalism ” a lot .]

      I haven’t listened to Rush in decades. The reference was from an article I read a few days ago in the Atlantic magazine.

      But you bring up a good point. Right-wingers like to claim that Americans are exceptional no matter what, even though our exceptionalism has waned in the past 30 years or so. Left-wingers want to make our country as good as it can be and regain our true exceptionalism.

    • [Why won’t Democrats Frog March ex Fannie and Freddie RICH, EVIL executives up to Capital Hill ]

      Alan, they HAVE. Repeatedly.

  8. Mr. Hoffman,

    ” Didn’t the government take back control of the GSEs? The problem was: their profits were privatized but the risks were socialized. That’s just asking for trouble. ”

    This is old stuff . All of the trouble started with the GSEs. Your guys used them to push housing for everyone . Wall Street was actually late to the party . I can give you links to Republicans trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie and your guys stopping the regulation . Because the heads of the GSEs were in the back pockets of the Democratic Party . Even Senator Obama voted not to break the filibuster that your guys used to protect Fannie and Freddie .

    • [I can give you links to Republicans trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie and your guys stopping the regulation]

      Oooooh… with youtube videos and everything? 🙂

      Can you site any legitimate economists who believe the problems started with the GSEs?

      • Those youtube videos (if they’re the ones I’m thinking of) are pretty telling. If they pointed the other way, the left would be all over them.

      • “legitimate economists”. Here we go again! I cringed when Obama threw that around at the Republican “party” and I cringe at it now.

        It’s such a bullshit term. Who on this blog is qualified – AT ALL – to determine what economist is legitimate vs. illegitimate? Next we’ll be pretending that we know climate science better than the climate scientists do! 😉

    • Alan;
      It’s a well known and documented fact (not Youtube like Ben suggests) that Barney Frank, Chuck Schumer, along with the Clinton administration pressured Fannie and Freddie and the banking industry to make irresponsible home loans to those that had no hope to repay them. Barney and Chuck vigorously opposed regulating them.

      Unemployement is at 9.9% and the real number is over 17% when including under-employed. The faux job and economic recovery is just that … faux, no matter how it’s spun. I’m sure the economy will recover slowly. But the fancy names like “recovery act”, etc. will have nothing to do with it. It’s hilarious that those on the left actually believe it.

      • [It’s hilarious that those on the left actually believe it.]

        Steve – economists on ‘the left’ as you might define it (Simon Johnson? Paul Krugman?) agree with you. They do NOT believe either that it’s over or that the Obama administration has been sufficiently reformist about the situation.

        Democrats who pay attention loathe Larry Summers. And aren’t entirely comfortable with Geithner either.

      • “It’s hilarious that those…”
        This post is the perfect example of that statement my dearest Moe.
        “aren’t entirely comfortable with Geithner”!!!
        Now THAT’S the understatement of the year! Talk about a weasel!

  9. Mr. Hoffman,

    ” [I can give you links to Republicans trying to rein in Fannie and Freddie and your guys stopping the regulation] ”

    ” Oooooh… with youtube videos and everything? 🙂 ”

    Uhhhh,, YEA. There are such lovely videos of Democrats protecting their good buddies at Fannie and Freddie. There are also wonderful scenes of Congressmen and women viciously OFHEO which along with Congress was supposed to make sure that what happened did not happen .

    I know for a fact that if the foot were on the other shoe, meaning you had video of Republicans protecting their crooked buddies and then the financial world blew up, you would post those youtube videos all over .

    ” Can you site any legitimate economists who believe the problems started with the GSEs? ”

    You know that is an interesting request because you are the judge and jury of ” legitimate economists “.

    Most of the really excellent material I dug up is from my side, and I know from experience that you would reject them out of spite .

    But have no fear. Unlike when I ask you to back up what you say, I am up to the task . Greenspan testified in front of some kind of panel in April of this year, I believe .

    I sincerely hope that Mr. Greenspan meets with your approval as a ” legitimate economist “.

    ” “While the roots of the crisis were global, it was securitized U.S. subprime mortgages that served as the crisis’ immediate trigger,” Greenspan said. “The surge in demand for mortgage back securities was heavily driven by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac which were pressed by the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Congress to expand affordable housing commitments.””

    • Greenspan? Ha! He thought the markets were self-regulating. What a dope.

      • In the old days Greenspan may have been right, but even as a capitalist, however, while I believe markets are ultimately self-regulating, that belief holds no practicality as it doesn’t address the matter of when the markets balance themselves out, nor the massive amount of damage that can occur in-between.

        Money in the days of Smith, Hayek, and even the early days of Greenspan didn’t move nearly as fast as it does now, and it didn’t have near the reach; the ability to traverse oceans in nanoseconds. Markets seem to now correct much, much, slower than they used to.

      • while I believe markets are ultimately self-regulating

        Markets are wealth concentrating.

        Without the state imposing strong redistributive as well as anti-monopoly law markets will not ‘regulate’ as you claim.

        Your belief is false. 🙂

      • Markets seem to now correct much, much, slower than they used to

        A fact that seems to contradict the idea that markets are self regulating. If we follow your hypothesis; with the flow of money and trade being so interconnected as it is today markets should be inherently more stable than they were in the past.

        The interconnectivity of the global economy seems only to increase the inherent instability of the capitalist model. Rumblings in Greece send the Dow Jones into a conniption fits.

        Consider the uproar when even modest regulations are suggested to moderate the global market economy.

        Without stringent regulation capitalism is an aberration. With proper regulation and attention to what business often refers to as ‘externalities’ (human rights, environmental destruction, cultural destruction etc.) capitalism is among the best ways to organize an economy.

      • [If we follow your hypothesis; with the flow of money and trade being so interconnected as it is today markets should be inherently more stable than they were in the past.]
        No, actually I argue that the illusion of interconnectedness makes the bullwhip effect that much more profound. Markets and exchanges have less to do with the natural balance of supply and demand and more to do with investor sentiment, fear, and speculation. While instant information can help fill market orders faster for goods and services, it can also create faster unnecessary panic in the speculation of those orders being fulfilled.

        [Without the state imposing strong redistributive as well as anti-monopoly law markets will not ‘regulate’ as you claim.] Ironic that you ask/expect the state to break up the very monopolies that they themselves not only help create, but thrive upon.

      • [while I believe markets are ultimately self-regulating]

        Vern – I wonder if it’s legitimate to ask whether the algorithm wealth maximization system was actually what we consider a ‘market’? I mean wasn’t it a math experiment? A game played by the very few based on something even they didn’t understand, making it kind of Russian Roulette.

        We’ve all heard the gambling comparison, but is it perhaps even something outside of gambling? Gambling has odds.

      • Hi Moe,

        Yes, “market” is a wide-reaching term. Originally the idea was a place to exchange goods (or money for goods) but now the various exchanges are, to a large extent, casinos, and I think the references are accurate.

  10. Mr. Hoffman,

    Greenspan, ” What a dope. ”

    Wow, tough crowd.

    • In addition, when Elizabeth Warren was trying to stop the repeal of Glass-Steagal and warning about the impending crisis, Greenspan did everything he could to shut her up. In other words, it was Greenspan who helped cause the collapse of our economy.

  11. Mr. Hoffman,

    We can argue that anyone in power during the 90s and into the collapse in 08, is at fault .

    • Now we’re getting somewhere. There’s been a mass delusion at work for decades in this country; we celebrated and tried to emulate the very wealthiest. Chasing dreams can be a good thing, but when everyone is chasing the same dream . . . .

  12. Now that we’ve got the Fed being looked at, Fan & Fred would be nice to take a peek at as well. But will it happen?

    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/may/10/in-bed-with-fannie-and-freddie/

  13. I take it Paul Krugman is what you’ve decided is a “legitimate” economist? 😉

    Private profits, public risk. I agree, that was the problem. How anti-capitalist!

    • You’ll be walking over to our side of the aisle (with Alan) if you keep this up. 🙂

      • Not sure if my sarcasm came through in my responses.

        Private profits and public risk goes against everything capitalist that I believe in. Unlike many on the right, however, I can also accept that it may not sit well with people more on the left, too.

    • [I take it Paul Krugman is what you’ve decided is a “legitimate” economist?]

      Well, he did win a Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics and was voted sixth in a 2005 global poll of the world’s top 100 intellectuals by Prospect Magazine.

      • I was just poking fun at the “legitimate” thing again. 🙂

        I consider Krugman to be legitimate as I consider any economist with a doctorate to be.

      • Legitimate as in one without an agenda.

      • You don’t think Krugman’s got an agenda, or is politically biased? If he slants (or LIES) he has an agenda – any writer does.

      • http://journaltalk.net/articles/5570

        Here a George Mason University professor and a PhD student analyze Krugman’s articles and show that he is clearly biased towards Democrats.

        Perhaps that in itself isn’t an “agenda”, but if Krugman is writing to help sell papers to a specific audience, and trying to sell his books to that same audience, and of course profit from those activities, then I’d say he’s got an agenda. So by your definition does that mean he is now “illegitimate”?

        I wouldn’t say so, but I wouldn’t be stating his opinions as the gospel, either.

      • [If he slants (or LIES) he has an agenda – any writer does.]

        That true, but you right-wingers consider anyone who doesn’t spin the facts to the right to be biased.

      • [Here a George Mason University professor and a PhD student analyze Krugman’s articles and show that he is clearly biased towards Democrats.]

        Their complaint was he wasn’t concerned enough about the plight of the poor — that he wasn’t “liberal” enough.

      • [That true, but you right-wingers consider anyone who doesn’t spin the facts to the right to be biased.]
        Wrong. I expect my sources to be biased to either direction, and I have no problem either stating those biases or having others point them out (ex: The Washington Times).

        The left, however, has jumped on this “legitimate economist” bandwagon thing ever since Obama called for Republicans to produce one back when he roasted them at their retreat. To you guys, any other economist who doesn’t support your view is all of a sudden “illegitimate”.

        [Their complaint was he wasn’t concerned enough about the plight of the poor — that he wasn’t “liberal” enough.]
        How selective! Who cares – the point of the paper, and their conclusion, is to show that he’s clearly biased. Your whole point around this “legitimate” thing was that Krugman was a “legitimate” economist, by your definition “one without an agenda”. Clearly Krugman is biased, has an agenda, and perhaps is not the hero everyone makes him out to be.

      • Your “proof” is pretty weak. Sure, everybody has an agenda. Some people want to help restore our economy and help the middle class, some people only want to help the wealthy get wealthier, some just want to help the poor. As long as they’re honest in their agenda, there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s when people’s agendas don’t match their rhetoric that makes someone not “legitimate.” (or when their parents aren’t married)

      • [Your “proof” is pretty weak.]
        Your misdirecting. What was it that I was supposedly “proving”? I’ve never said Krugman was illegitimate, and I even stated outright that the discussion about his bias by the GMU academics wasn’t enough to say he has an “agenda” (nor was that their purpose), either. Even with that I still haven’t tried to say he’s anything but an economist with biases towards the left.

        What I was doing was asking what your definition of ‘legitimate’ was as far as economists go, as it wasn’t clear.

      • [Even with that I still haven’t tried to say he’s anything but an economist with biases towards the left.]

        Bias is usually associated with dishonesty. You’ll have to show me some evidence that he’s dishonest. He does favor the Keynesian school of economic thought, as do most Democrats.

        Right-wingers generally tend to favor either Reaganomics or Objectivism — both of which have been totally discredited. Any time either one has been implemented, disaster ensues. We’ve seen what happens with Reganomics and even Alan Greenspan admitted that a free-market economy doesn’t work. But people still cling to their right-wing ideologies. It’s like a religion to them. Blind faith.

      • [Bias is usually associated with dishonesty. You’ll have to show me some evidence that he’s dishonest.]

        If what you’re saying is that you don’t think his intent is to deceive, I’d agree. He writes a biased column for a biased paper, much like anyone else does. It’s dishonesty by omission, in a sense, but that doesn’t mean I won’t read it and consider it. It just means there’s other opinions one can include for a more complete picture, which I don’t think Krugman alone provides.

        As for refuting his position on Fan & Fred’s role, I posted some links refuting the article by Krugman you cited. Some claim his intent is to “fool” us. That reply is awaiting moderation.

        Krugman insinuates that Fan & Fred were bystanders. He also makes light mention of their politics. I don’t believe they were bystanders, and I believe their politics deserved far more scrutiny and had more influence on the matter than Krugman seems to convey. I think the links posted provide a good opposing viewpoint.

        As for my own viewpoint, do I blame Fannie & Freddie, or the big banks, or either party for the meltdown? No. I mostly blame peoples’ own ignorance, stupidity, and greed for allowing it to get to the point that it did. I think all this finger pointing after-the-fact and blaming parties is really just people trying to pass off their own guilt and responsibility both for the past, and the future.

      • Vern – you say one of things you blame is people’s own ‘stupidity’. Not sure that’s a sin; that’s a condition. I know you didn’t mean it literally, but given that most investorment money comes from working people who trust the professionals to make investment decisions – pension plans, mutual funds etc. Their investment become the big ‘institutional traders. They are neither confident or knowledgeable enough to do it on their own and they know that. Does their ignorance mean they can’t invest?

        That’s what regulations are for.

        And of course Krugman is a liberal. His book and blog are called “Conscience of a Liberal”. And we all have agendas. No getting away from that.

      • Hi Moe,

        You said: …given that most investor money comes from working people who trust the professionals to make investment decisions – pension plans, mutual funds etc. Their investment become the big ‘institutional traders. They are neither confident or knowledgeable enough to do it on their own and they know that. Does their ignorance mean they can’t invest?

        You’re right – I certainly am not calling the true victims “stupid” for being cheated, misled, or outright lied to, and I’m certainly not letting brokers off the hook. But all I need to do is drive within a few blocks from my house to point out people who naively went into a first mortgage or a refinancing that was WAY over their head (and they knew it), who’ve racked their credit to keep up with the Jones’, who went 15 years without improving their skills or employability, etc. etc.

        Even members of my own family dwell on how the government “failed to reign in the fat cats”, yet it’s they themselves who financed themselves to the hilt to get the new car, the new pool, the 50″ TV… (ok, the TV gets a pass!) They’re the ones I call criticize for trying to pass the buck onto the gov’t and the system for their woes.

        I apply that criticism and those labels to myself as well. I was naive to a certain degree – having my focus on other things and not thinking a move out of the markets was more urgent. I took a hit, albeit a relatively small one, and I’m the first to call myself stupid for not being more on the ball. I don’t blame Obama, Bush, or the gov’t for my loss.

  14. Moe,

    “de-clawed”? I don’t know. They’re asking for more money, and warning us that they’ll be asking for more down the road. I think if the banks were doing the same thing right now, they’d be caned.

    • I was asking, cuz I’m not sure about it. But I thought that whatever they’re doing or asking for right now, they aren’t the same entity they were when it all went down.

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