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Austan Goolsbee’s Departing Deception on Jobs

by Keith Koffler on August 5, 2011, 11:14 am

This is White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee’s last week on the job, and he decided to leave us with some nonsense on the employment picture, which worsened today.

That’s right, worsened. Don’t believe the headlines or the White House. Definitely don’t believe the White House.

Let’s start with what actually happened. The economy in July generated 117,000 jobs and the unemployment rate declined from 9.2 percent ot 9.1 percent.

This is nice until you remember that the economy needs to create about 150,000 jobs just to keep pace with the growing work force. The decline in the unemployment rate was not due to the new jobs, but to people giving up searching for jobs. They are then not counted as unemployed, since they are not even looking.

Now, July was better than June, and the numbers were better than expected. But overall, we’re in worse shape than we were.

Let’s look at how Goolsbee spun this in his statement out of the White House today, which opens as follows:

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 154,000 in July and the unemployment rate ticked down to 9.1 percent.  The economy has added 2.4 million private sector jobs over the past 17 months, despite a slowdown in economic growth from substantial headwinds in the first half of the year.

Whoops! Read carefully. Looks like job creation got above the magic 150,000 number. But Goolsbee is talking about private sector jobs. The public sector is loosing jobs, particularly in states and localities, which are strapped for cash.

The overall number, 117,000 jobs created, is buried lower in the statement.

The White House does this every month – focusing on private sector jobs. Public sector employees would probably be surprised to discover that they matter less to President Obama.

In an interview with Bloomberg today, Goolsbee amped up the deception. Again, read closely. You really have to watch these people.

I believe that puts us at around 2.4 million jobs created over the last 17 months . . . If we are growing, adding 2.4 million jobs over 17 months, those are not the things a double-dip recession looks like.”

He means, as he said above, 2.4 million private sector jobs. The overall number created is less.

Goodbye Austan, and good riddance.

Leave a Comment

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Star August 5, 2011 at 11:16 am

Someone just joined the Austan Hate Club…welcome.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 11:17 am

Will meetings continue?

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Star August 5, 2011 at 11:20 am

Who can we transfer to–or should I say, who CAN’T we transfer to… We will need to rebrand, get some columns, let’s see….

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Star August 5, 2011 at 11:18 am

Also…I am sure we will get “the tsunami in Greece made Bush ruin the country” jazz in an hr or two.

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srdem65 August 5, 2011 at 11:43 am

A man of MrGoolsbe’s stature doesn’t just turn into a political hack who lies by omission or by selecting facts out of context for no discernable reason.
The press secretary, MrCarney, humiliates himself with statements of imaginary facts that even he can’t believe.
The reason these people won’t speak the real truth is to protect, not the President, but themselves from retribution from those in power who could torpedo any of their future plans. Most people who have been fortunate to work at the seat of power in the WhiteHouse can command high salaries from private employers but only if they’re not fired.
Those who can’t keep up the facade resign, claiming family issues or such.

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Susan August 5, 2011 at 12:06 pm

Makes me wonder how these people can sleep at night, knowing they are selling out their country for personal gain.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm

You mean he left town ahead of the posse? Could be. Obama eventually may have to sacrifice someone, since he can’t fire Bush.

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Star August 5, 2011 at 11:48 am

I know I am overposting…but on the economy…I am just a poli sci grad of the lowly Elliott School (not Hahvahd) but…
In those cabinet meetings, does he ever say, “You know your dept best–I would like to see a detailed plan for cutting 10% of your budget next yr.”
Do they reward foreign companies manufacturing here with American workers? A la the car cos.
Do they penalize for sending work to little kids overseas instead of Am workers?
Do they ever get tough with Chinese monetary shenanigans? They can’t call our loans–it would hurt them.
Do they ever offer companies incentives to take new people on as apprentices–offer them refresher courses etc?
How about 3-yr college degrees? Half the kids do not even graduate in six yrs.

There seem to be some ideas out there…Maybe they could come from this classy blog.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm

Star, are you trying to offer rational prescriptions? Please!

I think he really can’t bring himself to do the things that must be done, and even if he could, his political advisers wouldn’t let him.

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Star August 6, 2011 at 12:25 pm

I was–rational sort of. I am so ashamed.

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Susan August 5, 2011 at 11:52 am

Good riddance is right Keith. Who will they hire to jury-rig the stats next month? Stopped believing any and all numbers released by this White House long ago.

Some good news. I received an email from John Boehner today. He was thanking me for contacting him during the debt debate. Now I know they really don’t read any of our emails because I was definitely less than flattering to him and his leadership capabilities in my prose. Amazingly he had the gall to mention his Pledge to America. You know the pledge where Republicans promised to put all legislation on line for 3 days and cite the constitutional authority for each bill they pass? Yeah that one. They all make me sick.

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Just2old August 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm

The fact is that on Obama’s watch, we’ve lost approx net 2.8 million jobs. They spin the stats like most politicians. I agree Susan, they all make me sick too.
I live in N. Virginia and don’t see the dire affect of this depression as most of you do. I have another house (I’ve been attempting to retire since last Aug…can’t sell the house!) in Springfield, MO….mush worse there with many businesses closed and absolutely no jobs.
I had the occasion to drive through W. Virginia a few weeks ago and couldn’t help but noticing a large billboard which stated “OBAMA NO JOB ZONE”. He is ruining this once great country!

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Susan August 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm

Texas’ economy is faring better than most states, although we are seeing the same skyrocketing food and energy prices. The housing market has remained fairly steady here. Unfortunately Obama has released his enviro-whacko czars loose on us and they are attempting to regulate us into poverty. Then there is the problem with the war between the Mexican drug lords on our open border, and the illegal aliens that are starting to affect every state in the union. Things aren’t going to change or improve until he gets the boot in 2012.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm

Susan – all while saying their reducing regulations. Does such propaganda not remind you of the Soviets?

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm

There are a lot of billboards like that J20 – I’ve never seen such anger, and I don’t think the White House understands what’s out there.

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Shofar August 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Keith,

I’d like to make the argument that the numbers have fallen not due to people that have “given up” on looking for work, but rather because they have run out of unemployment benefits. I have several friends that are in that situation, and are still looking for work, but now the only help they get is $200 a month in food stamps. They are being forced to sell homes, give up apartments, sell off most if not all of their possessions and end up moving in with other friends or family.

They are despondent and depressed, and I have personally known some that have seriously thought of suicide due to the situation, that to them, has become untenable. These are people with college educations, trained tradesmen, or in some other way have strong marketable skills, yet cannot find work due to the economy not only being flat lined, but now suffering rigor mortis.

This administration is worse than the proverbial ostrich, as I don’t think they are just hiding their heads in the sand, but rather up their rears.

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William August 5, 2011 at 12:44 pm

My guess is that it’s a rounding error. We’re talking one-tenth of one percent.

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Star August 5, 2011 at 12:46 pm

They are despondent and depressed, and I have personally known some that have seriously thought of suicide due to the situation, that to them, has become untenable. These are people with college educations, trained tradesmen, or in some other way have strong marketable skills

Yes–I know people like this, too–who see no end…No way out. But hey, Washington insiders with your appreciating homes and “cake” jobs–have another piece of birthday pastry! We aren’t the ones eating cake, more’s the pity.

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Shofar August 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm

I would like to add a couple of more things. I had a friend who moved in with me after he lost his job in the construction industry (he was a heavy machine operator and made over $75k p/yr) and his unemployment ran out. After several months of living with me he developed a sore on his foot (he has diabetic neuropathy) and went to the local public healthcare hospital (he had lost his private insurance when he lost his job). Since they are so over loaded with patients now, it took months for them to really try and get the infection that started in a small sore under control. By then the infection had spread to the bones in his foot, and they ended up having to amputate. The infection also spread throughout his body, and destroyed his kidneys. He is now on dialysis five days a week for 6-8 hours a day. His prognosis is not good, and he is not a good candidate for transplant due to other health issues.

The upside is that now that he is in kidney failure and has lost a large portion of his foot he qualified for $950 p/m in disability, so now he has his own place again. Since he make too much on disability he does not qualify for food stamps and has to wait at least another 3-6 months until he qualifies for medicaid to cover the costs of his treatments and medication. Costs that are running in the hundreds of dollars per month.

This is a guy who has worked on some of the biggest construction projects in America, and now he is at the mercy of a system that he has paid into for 30 years. Remember those shovel ready jobs touted two years ago, if they had existed then my friend would probably not be in the situation he is in now.

Too often we hear and read about this economic forecast or report, and forget that each percentage point represents a real person, one who is or was willing/able to work, and due to no fault of their own have been thrown to wolves to fend for themselves.

My friend does not blame the Republicans or the Democrats or even Obama for the economic nightmare we are facing. He blames the American people for not paying attention to what was and is going on in Washington and across the country. He blames the complacency of the American voter and the general ignorance that has over taken this country.

The stories of Americans who are suffering needs to be told on a real person basis. Not in some number pontificated by some WH hack, but placed in terms of real people.

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Star August 5, 2011 at 1:12 pm

What a horrible story–and not isolated. Maybe the president will “see” all this while he spends a few hrs on a bus.

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srdem65 August 5, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Star makes a good point when he refers to the “bubble” surrounding the DC area. It’s really hard for those in power who have every need met, who don’t have any idea what their electric bill is during the summer, and who don’t have to make the choices of what to pay that the rest of us deal with every day of this miserable economy.

When a member of our community who has supported his/her family, paid their debts and shared their bounty with others finds themselves begging for food stamps, pleading with the strained Medicaide facilities for timely help become despondent, we all feel his pain.
Please tell your friend that the commenters you ‘met’ on line wish him well and understand what happened to him.

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Star August 5, 2011 at 2:01 pm

I am not really an expert–but maybe the regular hospital would be an approach–not the so-called “charity” one. They have to see him in the ER and will expedite the paperwork to get him on Medicaid bec they want money.

As for blame, I don’t blame myself or my fellow voters–we hired all these people to run the joint over the yrs. They said they could. I blame them!

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Susan August 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm

Agreed and second your well wishes for Shofar’s friend, srdem.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm

Thanks for sharing this story Shofar. One of the great things about doing this blog is that I get to hear from so many people outside of Washington and hear stories like this. I guarantee you, you are right – people in Washington don’t know what their electric bills are and don’t feel what’s going on in the country. It’s a little club of well fed bureaucrats, reporters, politicians, staffers, lobbyists and others who just have to be a little careful not to land in the wrong place in DC late at night.

Please give your friend my sincere wishes. I’ve known illness in my own family, as most of us have, and I’m very sorry about his situation.

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MarjoJimbo August 5, 2011 at 2:17 pm

Well, I had one of the public sector jobs that are being lost. My job in public education ended the end of last month. Add one to the August figures when they come out. However, as much as I enjoyed my job, I don’t really, really think it was all that critical. I saw lots of waste, too, in other positions. I wonder how many other public sector jobs are out there similar to mine. We have no way of knowing, do we?

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Star August 5, 2011 at 2:34 pm

Sorry to hear about your job. I do a “coping” site–Do the Hopey Copey. It may be sort of stupid, but am trying to help.

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Keith Koffler August 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Sorry MJ about your job. One of my daughter’s teachers just go laid off. He was new and really dedicated to and good at what he was doing. It was too bad.

Good luck to you.

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Star August 6, 2011 at 12:37 pm

You know who is starting to REALLY frost my cahooties? That Steve Moore with his simpy grin and cake job at the WSJ, saying unemployment insurance is “paying people not to work” so should be given only for a short time. I don’t use the term “asshat” loosely, but I could make an exception.

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