Friday, October 29, 2010

Tracking the 5.2 Million Jobs Obama Squandered

"We have a system that increasingly taxes work and subsidizes nonwork." ~ Milton Friedman

 By: Larry Walker, Jr.

 "Tracking the 3.5 million jobs Obama will save or create." That was the title of a blog post, last updated on January 8, 2010, on a website named Understanding The Market - Capire Il Mercato. In a note, the author, Cole Kendall stated, "I will make the calculations in a way that provides a “best case” to the Obama team." Since Mr. Kendall decided to give up on his tracking operation at the end of 2009, I decided to finish it off.

Using the same criteria as originally outlined by Obama's (now former) economic team, jobs are defined by counting the total non-farm employment, from Table B-1 of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Employment Situation Report" (seasonally adjusted).

Instead of boring you with the month-by-month 2010 data, I went ahead and cut to the chase, skipping from December of 2009, where Mr. Kendall left off, to September of 2010, the latest data available from the 10/08/2010 report.

Following is an excerpt from the original blog post, followed by the revised tracker, and a brief analysis:

In an earlier essay I tried to explain President Obama’s notion of saving or creating jobs. The stimulus plan bill was passed by both houses of Congress last night and the final plan was a bit smaller than the earlier version, so the President now asserts that the plan will save or create 3.5 million jobs.

This post will track the 3.5 million jobs. There are a number of ways to measure jobs in the US. Some people work several different jobs at a time while others change employers frequently, so measuring jobs is not as simple as it might seem. There was a cartoon from the Clinton era showing the President speaking at a dinner that he had created 8 million jobs and an overworked waiter thinking that he had three of them. Obama’s economic team define jobs as use the payroll data (see here for their original report).

Just before the stimulus bill passed the Department of Labor issued a report (see here). The number of people working (see Table B1, about 2/3 of the way down, with the heading “Establishment Data”) was 134,580,000 (seasonally adjusted). This is a preliminary measure and will be revised next month and probably revised again in a year. Using the Obama team methodology, without the stimulus bill employment would be expected to fall by around 1,613,000 jobs during the next two years so that without the stimulus bill we would expect employment to be 132,967,000 in January 2011.

With the revised estimate of 3,500,000 jobs “saved or created”, employment should be 136,467,000, creating 1,887,000 in addition to the 1,613,000 jobs saved.

The table below will be updated with every new employment release to see how jobs have changed. The first column is the actual number of payroll jobs starting with the month before the stimulus plan passed; the second column is the total change in employment since the month when the stimulus plan passed and the third column shows the gap remaining of jobs to be “created” in order to reach the target.

Revised: Stimulus Job Tracker

Revised: Stimulus Jobs Created or Saved - Click to Enlarge

The conclusion is pretty grim, and certainly doesn't mesh with what Obama has been saying out on the campaign trail. The sad truth is that instead of creating 3.5 million jobs since the stimulus plan was passed, it has resulted in the loss of 3.3 million jobs. Since the stimulus plan was supposed to save 1,613,000 jobs in addition to creating 1,887,000 jobs, and since it actually resulted in the loss of 3,348,000 jobs, it would now take the creation of 5,235,000 jobs, by January of 2011, to reach the original target.

I don't know what you call this, but I call it a failure. It's so bad that most people simply stopped tracking it. So do we need another stimulus plan, or another Congress, Senate, and ultimately President? I don't think it helps having Obama roam around the country making false claims in an effort to re-elect the same folks who screwed this up. The thought of $887 billion of deficit-financed spending flushed down the drain doesn't bode well for those who supported it.

You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time. ~ Abraham Lincoln (R-IL)

Sources:

http://stats.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t17.htm

http://stats.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

http://understandingthemarket.com/?p=63

Table B-1 Data: Total Non-Farm Employment (Seasonally Adjusted):

http://stats.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

BLS Table Revised 10/8/2010

Chart Per BLS 10/8/2010

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