Jobs growth stagnates again

Article Highlights

  • This morning’s jobs report reveals that the better than expected July increase was nothing more than a blip.

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  • The US economy has been slogging along at about the same pace since the spring. #jobs

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  • The economic story will stay about where it is between now and the election.

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This morning’s jobs report reveals that the better than expected July increase was nothing more than a blip. The economy has been slogging along at about the same pace since the spring. There is ample cause to believe that the truth is much worse than the 96,000 jobs created number might indicate. There is normally a large amount of seasonal firing this time of year, and employers probably fired fewer people than normal because they hired fewer earlier in the summer. This means that the normal seasonal adjustment process will overstate this August’s jobs growth, a view that is supported by the fact that the biggest source of strength was in eating and drinking establishments. Alternatively, it is possible that the labor market is so depressing that folks have taken to heavy drinking.

The unemployment rate dipped down, but this was a classic discouraged worker effect, and means nothing. There was a chance that this jobs number would reinforce the July’s promising blip and change the political climate in the president’s favor. That didn’t happen, which means that the economic story will stay about where it is between now and the election.

— Kevin A. Hassett is director of economic-policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute and serves as an economic adviser to the Romney campaign.

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About the Author

 

Kevin A.
Hassett
  • Kevin A. Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also a resident scholar and AEI's director of economic policy studies.



    Before joining AEI, Hassett was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia (University) Business School. He served as a policy consultant to the US Department of the Treasury during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

    Hassett has also been an economic adviser to presidential candidates since 2000, when he became the chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during that year's presidential primaries. He served as an economic adviser to the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign, a senior economic adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and an economic adviser to the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign.

    Hassett is the author or editor of many books, among them "Rethinking Competitiveness" (2012), "Toward Fundamental Tax Reform" (2005), "Bubbleology: The New Science of Stock Market Winners and Losers" (2002), and "Inequality and Tax Policy" (2001). He is also a columnist for National Review and has written for Bloomberg.

    Hassett frequently appears on Bloomberg radio and TV, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, NPR, and "PBS NewsHour," among others. He is also often quoted by, and his opinion pieces have been published in, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Hassett has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.

  • Phone: 202-862-7157
    Email: khassett@aei.org
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