Not Simply 'Any One Monthly Report'
Around the State
In response to Friday morning’s dismal jobs report — showing yet another month of unemployment at 8.2 percent — the chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, Alan Krueger said, "It is important not to read too much into any one monthly report.”
Considering this now marks 41 months of unemployment above 8 percent, perhaps he’s correct. High unemployment for one month is one thing, but the consistently high unemployment we’ve seen throughout President Obama’s term is another. The latest jobs report is not simply “any one monthly report,” but the latest chapter in that saga.
And in spite of his recent comments, Krueger has not always taken the view which minimizes the importance of job growth in the month-to-month.
In February 2012, for instance, while he again noted the importance of not overreading the monthly report, he did cite it as “further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal.”
More interesting, however, are Krueger’s comments about the economy long before President Obama entered office.
Nearly a decade ago, in October 2003, the September jobs report for that year showed a 6.1 percent unemployment rate and an average jobless time of 19.7 weeks.
Then, Krueger said of that jobs report, "If this is good news, I'd hate to see bad news … I read it as a holding pattern. It doesn't look to me like the turnaround is here yet." He added: "This month doesn't look too much better than last month. Maybe the expectations were just so low. Sooner or later we will get good job growth. I'm just not sure it is now."
Today, this month certainly “doesn’t look too much better than last month.” The unemployment rate is unchanged at 8.2 percent and the average length of unemployment has risen to 39.9 weeks.
So when President Obama dubs the latest jobs report as a “step in the right direction,” well, to quote his top economic adviser, “If this is good news, I’d hate to see bad news.”
Republican U.S. Rep. Dennis Ross of Lakeland represents Florida's 12th Congressional District.