The economy generated 146,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate dropped to 7.7 percent, and I had to suppress a yawn.
I hate to intrude on the celebrating, but the growth is about consistent with the last few months of increases that do little more than keep pace with increases in population, which means it will take us about one or two centuries to get back to the rate of employment we had a few years a go.
Okay, I’m exaggerating, but you get the idea. That is, last month we were stuck in a hole ten feet deep. And this month, despite digging, we’re stuck in a hole . . . ten feet deep.
The jobless rate dropped only because 350,000 people GAVE UP LOOKING FOR WORK.
Went to sleep. Turned on the TV. Wandered around a book store.
As economist Kevin Hassett notes in the National Review, other economic data are not so good as the mediocre jobs report.
The solid jobs report contrasts, however, with other economic data that have been much more negative. In particular (and one might call this the revenge of the 1 percent) capital spending is dropping off the cliff. Orders for non-defense capital goods, for example, have dropped sharply five months in a row. Even with the stronger labor market, fourth-quarter GDP growth is looking like it could be fairly close to zero.
What can one say? The dude won reelection anyway. Forward!