Smile, man. :)

President Obama on his way to Miami.


Understated Progress on Jobs?

The best part of this morning’s jobs report may be the hints that the government is understating actual job growth.

monthly estimate of employment changes is often too pessimistic in the early stages of a recovery (and too optimistic in the early stages of a downturn). The department tends to underestimate how many new businesses are starting as the economy picks up.

There’s no way to know whether that is happening now, but there are reasons to suspect it might be. The other main survey the department does is of households, rather than businesses. It has a smaller sample size and so usually is not as accurate as the survey of businesses. At turning points, though, the household survey can detect changes before the business survey does. As Floyd Norris has explained, the numbers from the business survey may well end up being revised later on — as more accurate data on start-ups flows in — and looking more like the sunnier household survey.

Today’s report clearly raises the odds that we’re in the middle of such a period now.

Average job growth over the past three months has been only 102,000, according to the survey of businesses. But it’s been 221,000 — significantly more than population growth — according to the survey of households. The unemployment rate, which is calculated from the household survey, has dropped sharply in the past few months in large part because of these job gains.

It’s particularly noteworthy that the Labor Department today revised upward the business survey’s estimated job growth for both December and January. That may mean more revisions are coming.

// more


Austan Goolsbee

Today’s employment report shows that private sector payrolls increased by 222,000 in February, marking 12 consecutive months of growth that has added 1.5 million jobs at private firms. The unemployment rate fell for the third straight month to 8.9 percent. The 0.9 percentage point drop in the unemployment rate over the past three months is the largest such decline since 1983, and it has been driven primarily by increased employment, rather than falling labor force participation.

Though unemployment remains elevated, we are seeing signs that the initiatives put in place by this Administration – such as the payroll tax cut and business tax incentives for investment – are creating the conditions for sustained growth and job creation. The steep decline in the unemployment rate and the overall trend of economic data in recent months has been encouraging, but there is still considerable work to do to replace the jobs lost in the downturn. We will continue to work with Congress to find ways to reduce spending, but not at the expense of derailing progress in the job market, making the investments we need to educate our workers, investing in science, and building the infrastructure our companies need to succeed. 

In addition to the increases last month, the estimates of private sector job growth for December (now +167,000) and January (now +68,000) were revised up. Overall payroll employment rose by 192,000 last month. The sectors with the largest payroll employment growth were professional and business services (+47,000), education and health services (+40,000), manufacturing (+33,000), and construction (+33,000). State and local government experienced a large decline (-30,000), and has shed jobs in 14 of the past 16 months.

The overall trajectory of the economy has improved dramatically over the past two years, but there will surely be bumps in the road ahead.  The monthly employment and unemployment numbers are volatile and employment estimates are subject to substantial revision.  Therefore, as the Administration always stresses, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report. 


123 thoughts on “Smile, man. :)

  1. To do what? March on the streets? Maybe go on a strike? You seem to forget that he is the President of the United States, not a Labor leader. And if you’d give it a bit of a thought, you’d know that him staying out of it, is the best thing for the fight.

  2. Na. Wisconsin voted in these madmen. The only thing PBO should do is make sure Brown isn’t doing illegal things. Ohio has already succeded in breaking the public unions, there is no need to go to Wis. Did anyone see the cops tackle the Dem last night. I’m not sue that what they are doing meets Constitutional muster up there


  4. And by the way, let’s go PBO!!!!! By the time we get to 2012, unempoyment will be in the 7% range. Repugs are doing everything they can to stop it. I’m so proud of my support for PBO that I feel like some sort of genius. Too bad BWD and you other smart folk made sure I wasn’t the only one or I would feel even more special.

  5. Where is Tavis,Cornell, Bill Mahr, Jon Stewart, Matt Damon, Glenn Greenwald, Jane Hamsher, Arianna Huffington, did she or any of her leftist naysers get out and rent a vote, hold their show inb wisconsin. Protest with the pl of wisconsin.

  6. You know as I heard someone else say about the President’s comments in 2007 about marching on a “picket line”….

    Sue him for breech of promise AND MOVE ON. The President obviously cannot not go to each and every state who’s having a protest. If he goes to WI then Indiana will want him there; then Ohio, etc.

  7. The focus should be on the tea party who got these folks elected, where is the focus on Dick Armey , American for prospierity and all the others. They tricked these folks into voting for them, the left stayed home, because their biggest mouth piece told the to Ed Schultz.

  8. HEY!!!!!! How dare you criticize those men and women!!! I’m ashamed of you, you’re only supposed to bash Obama. See how I said Obama without the P in front. That’s how you do it Tavis style. Unions dont affect Black folk so do you dare talk ill of Tavis and Cornell. and unions dont affect comedians, so you can leave out the rest of those clowns too

  9. It funny and sad. But on other sites the Repubs are taking credit for this uptick in jobs. What legislative has the House passed that have produced jobs? They passed abortion bills. Does that count? (snark off).

    Oh, they say: “Just having the Repubs in the majority in the House gives businesses the incentives to hire”. If the huge profits businesses have made over the last 2 years didn’t give them incentives, having a bunch of teabaggers in Congress sure hasn’t made any difference.

  10. I wouldn’t lump Arianna Huffington in that group – simply because she’s no progressive. She a Repub who found that pretending to be a progressive would garner her big bucks.

    Tavis still has a hair up his butt about the President not coming to his Black Conference.

  11. Now i will help with that, but i will begin to blame the president for not going.

  12. This is why it’s important to vote with your brain and intellect, versus voting with emotion.

    NEW Rasmussen Poll: Wisconsin voters overwhelmingly disapprove of @govwalker, 57-43
    11 minutes ago Favorite Retweet Reply

  13. makesence, if there is anything that offends me almost as much as the teabaggers themselves, is how the media built this relatively low number of people into something important with their constant coverage. They took a toxic/extremist mixture of Birchers, birthers, homophobes and xenophobic Christianists and through wall-to-wall coverage, plopped them into the mainstream.

  14. So, do you suggest he go to every state/city where they are having these types of problems. In DC today nurses are striking, should he be there? How about Ohio, Indiana? March 14 – be Educator rally planned in Annapolis, MD – you want him to be there to? GET REAL!

  15. Excatly BWD, Pres. Obama and Mrs. Obama both campaign in WI and asked them to not give the keys back…

  16. Thank you. To do what? Elections have consequences. President Obama, First Lady Michelle, Vice President Biden, and President Clinton told them what would happen, they didn’t listen, now they are reaping the benefits of what they sowed.

  17. Video is up on Here’s a little: “Last night, one Democratic lawmaker, Rep. Nick Milroy, was physically tackled by Capitol police when he tried to enter the building to retrieve some clothes after meeting with constituents outside.”

  18. Tavis Smiley is a complete idiot, and Dr. West is just old, he don’t know, no better.

  19. Bingo!

    And to add: perhaps the person responsible for turning an economy which was shedding 800,000 jobs per month into an economy which is now producing 200K jobs per month, among too many achievements to name in the context of a GOP which used a historical amount of obstruction to stop these reforms—perhaps this guy knows a little something about competence and good strategy. As Saint Roscoe likes to note, a higher percentage of people in Wisconsin and throughout the country support the protesters’ viewpoint than support President Obama. Because he hsan’t made the issue all about him. Smart move, one of just too many to count; we’re going to be spending years studying this presidency.

  20. I think it’s important that the President is focusing on education in a time when most states and counties are cutting back on education (3 billion by Rick Scott, so dam foolish and idiotic). Hopefully someone will call these morons out (how about you Matt Damon sense you got all the answers).

  21. And this media effort is backfiring. Right now, the GOP is struggling to produce a candidate that will be able to secure a definitive presidential nomination without having to swing far right to pander to the ugliness of the Teafringe. House cryer Boner cannot get a single bill passed into law partly because of the Tea senators and he’s now risking primary challenger. Palin is fading fast. Meanwhile President Obama continues to do well and the economy is improving.

  22. It’s not a picket line. Nobody is on strike. Wisconsin workers have a collectively bargained contract.

  23. So why did Wisconsin vote for these republicans in and now they want PBO to come to the rescue? How many times did PBO campaign in Wisconsin, pleaded with the people not to give the keys back to the GOP? In a way I’m glad the lesson was fast in coming so people can really know the consequences of their votes.

  24. He’s not going there. Keep frowning.

    Wisconsinites need to treat their own self-inflicted wounds after Daddy Barack, Mommy Michelle, and Uncle Joe told them not to touch the stove because it’s hot.

  25. You’re welcome, gn. I’ve been checking his vimeo page hoping he’d post another video.

  26. Huffington is a special brand of Republican we love to call “fauxgressive.”

  27. Tea Party leader: Boehner looks ‘like a fool,’ should be defeated in a primary

    Washington (CNN) – In another display of the Tea Party movement turning on its own ideological supporters, the head of one prominent group has said that House Speaker John Boehner looks “like a fool” as House Republicans push spending cuts in their budget proposal. And that leader wants the Tea Party movement to set a goal for 2012: to defeat Boehner in a Republican primary.

    To help make his point, Tea Party Nation founder Judson Phillips even referenced a story currently feeding a pop-culture frenzy.

    “Charlie Sheen is now making more sense than John Boehner,” Phillips wrote in a post to his group’s website on Wednesday.

    CNN contacted Boehner’s campaign for reaction, but a spokesman declined to comment.

    At issue is the spending proposal recently passed in the House that would fund the government for the rest of fiscal year 2011 – which ends September 30. It would cut $61 billion from current spending levels.

    Noting an earlier pledge from Republicans, Phillips said the $61 billion is not enough.



  28. Yeah, I heard that too. They said 6 republicans voted against the measure


    (actually, thanks to PBO/Democratic-led recovery, I won’t be able to say this much longer, but still, Boner had nothing to do with that!)

  30. It’s pretty simple: if Obama goes to Wisconsin will it stiffen or weaken the GOP’s union busting resolve?

    An Obama visit would be used straight away to raise money for Gov. Walker’s union busting cause, translating into millions of dollars coming from the Obama hating tea partiers who now have an even greater stake in this fight.

    And on the other side, the Pro-Union protesters don’t need any more motivation.

    Obama doesn’t trade a tangible strategy for symbolic tactics, and that’s one of the reasons I love him.

  31. This has to be the best breakdown I have seen of the unhinged, deranged and just plain nuts GOP presidential candidates for 2012.

    It includes a synopsis and comments on each candidate using facts, wit and humor. It’s hilarious. Of course, I guess there could be a GOP dark horse (pardon my pun) in the wings but I doubt it.


    If you’re lucky enough to be near Tampa, Florida in the early fall of 2012 — and I will be — book yourself a ticket to the greatest show on earth: the Republican National Convention, at which the tea party will nominate its candidate for president, and then inform the Republicans who that person is. Bring popcorn, because the Republican presidential sweepstakes is shaping up to be quite a freak show.

    Thankfully, none of these people will ever be president. But as political “B teams” go, they’re quite a hoot!

    Here they are:


  32. I wasn’t implying that he should go. People like Schultz and others on the PL have been ranting about the President not going to WI. I was merely repeating what I heard someone say to those on the PL who keep playing that video over and over. In fact, Rachel even showed it the other night.

  33. Elections have consequences….people vote based on misinformation and the people who know the truth have to suffer the consequences.

    Is there anyway there can be a law that will make people get licensed to be able to vote…i.e., they have to take a basic test on the views of the parties and candidates. If they fail, no license, no vote. If you need a license to drive, you should need to obtain a license to vote….driving andf voting both effect other peoples lives.

  34. Its funny to see republican governors meet the president when he visits, they are all smiles.

  35. Excellent comment tulips, but Arianna can’t come because she has to devote all of her spare time to being the self-appointed spokeswoman for the middle class AND to counting the large pile of shiny new farthings she just received. 😉

  36. One of the beauties of this country is that we no longer require such tests. Trust me, there used to be them in the South. You don’t want to see them again.

  37. tigerfists88

    Now the Huckster is mad at Natalie Portman for having an out of wedlock baby.

    He is a boob. A full blown country rube.

  38. So we are 2 months in and the Teapublican lead house ain’t got nothing done yet. Anybody remember 2 months into POTUS O presidency people were making their lists of what he has not accomplished, why he will fail, how much Wall Street is gonna crash and not recover under this president, why they want him to fail, blah, blah, blah.. etc? All this while he was working his ass off unlike these shiftless republicans? Where is the concern and hand wringing pertaining to the lazy teapubs?

    Anyway as per usual I will continue screaming, I HAVE THIS PRESIDENT’S BACK FOREVER!!! sorry I had to get it out to the internet world etc….:D

  39. He also took shots at Natalie Portman for glamorizing being single and pregnant in a recent interview. I guess being engaged, 29yr and a multi-millionaire is still bad optics for Huck, though I don’t believe he ever said a word about Bristol Palin who was 17, not a millionaire and not engaged.

    I guess he either wanted Portman to get an abortion, or keep herself shut in for 9 months away from the rest of the world to hide her shame.

  40. To be honest, the way to argue against Obama going to Wisconsin is not to blame Wisconsin for voting in the idiots. That is like saying, well you voted them in, so tough cookies. A lot of the protestors voted in Walker and his cronies, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have sympathy for them.

    The reason Obama shouldn’t go is because it would have a negative effect. His going isn’t going to suddenly cause Walker to go “Oh gosh, since the Prez is here I better just stop what I am doing and drop the bill.” If anything it would do the opposite.

    The people of Wisconsin see what is happening and doing their best to counter it. The President is doing what he always does: Let the people represent themselves.

  41. it would be cool to have a chart showing Nancy Pelosi record compared to John Bohener.

  42. I like my icon. I like it a whole lot.

    But I love my neighbor’s bumber sticker: “Relax White People.”

    As a relaxed white man I find it funny and spot on.

  43. I have this President’s back forever, too. Definitely second that emotion. Hang in there!

  44. Joan Walsh of Salon makes such a good point. Why is the right ignoring his anthropologist mother who is white? Not to mention is white grandparents.


    Why don’t right-wingers look at Obama’s mother to understand his politics? Oh yeah — she was white!

    In fact, the political views of Obama’s white mother, anthropologist Stanley Ann Dunham, are far more relevant to the president’s development than those of his activist-turned-alcoholic Kenyan father. Ann Dunham is the one who brought her young children to Indonesia, where she wrote her doctoral thesis on the culture and economics of Java’s rural metalworkers. She built a career around rural development, microfinance and women’s welfare. You could probably fairly describe her views as “anti-colonial.” But almost no one ever talks about her progressive political work, and its influence on her son. You could still probably red-bait the president with the Middle American Dunham’s compassionate, globalist politics, but that wouldn’t be nearly as damaging or scary as pointing to his black Kenyan father. Plus, how would you get to use the term “Mau Mau”?

    Huckabee should be ashamed of himself.

    (My apologies if this has already been posted)

  45. Reading a reader’s response to Sullivan, who thinks that Huckleberry was actually talking about Palin, but couldn’t come right out and say so.

  46. Love that sticker too. As a relaxed white woman. What I love about President Obama is that he is smart and easy on the eyes!

  47. Actually, being here in the Milwaukee area and having had to suffer through Walker as our County Executive, I believe people voted out of lack of information, not misinformation, as Walker’s “values” and “policies” were out there for all to see if they were interested enough to look.

  48. The Reid Report is a consistently good source of information. They work very hard at providing good material, yet get very few visits and no comments. I thought this article about the Republican field for 2012 was great, but they’ve also been good on Wisconsin news.

  49. Greetings All

    I just love this place.

    So in my compulsive need to organize I have come up with another list. I am making a list of all the ridiculous things the Republicans are trying to eliminate under the guise of balancing the budget. This one is currently at the top of my list.

    House budget cuts target poison control, product safety

    They really have lost their minds. Please keep reminding this group of all the cuts, I want to make this a long list.

  50. I just saw a great poster in Wisconsin that said “You may keep us out of the capitol building, but you won’t keep us from the voting booths.”

    I personally believe that the Scott Walker – Republican Dictator – is going to be a huge game changer, in the 2012 elections.

    When the enemy has meant for evil, U.S. citizens are going to turn the table and use for good.

  51. Is there another rlly for this weekend? Unions need to keep up the pressure as Walker keeps telling the GOP senators that the MSM will get bored and the protesters will peter out.

  52. From my twitter timeline:

    RT @OFA_FL: Cheers of “OBAMA” coming from the Miami Central High student body. #WinningtheFuture #youu

  53. Yes there is and a lot of folks will be bringing “palm trees” 🙂

  54. Now workers from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades District Council 7 are calling the Walker administration’s estimate of $7.5 million in damage to the Capitol “another gross overreach,” and are offering to clean up any damage from signs and tape.
    Their press release is here ( )

  55. Harry Redi called the House republican spending plan the worst peice of legislation ever!
    LOL! Go get em, Harry!

  56. The supreme court of florida, ruled on party lines that governor scott can cancel the HSR!
    Its over, we get None of it!


  57. You really make a very compelling argument Japa. Besides why is it all of sudden so fashionable to hold President Obama to different standards? Which other President in history ever joined, or was expected to join, a protest movement? President Obama has clearly stated his support for public workers. That is all he needed to do.

  58. I completely agree. This isn’t a TV movie — it’s real life. You want to give Rush and Glenn and Walker and Boehner all the ammunition they need to change the debate from their people-hating practices and make it about Obama over reach?

    Jim, embrace Ed Schultz’ passion for the worker but don’t buy into his Great Ideas. Those Great Ideas included telling the 99’ers to not vote in order to ‘send a message’. Newsflash: that’s how we got Govs. Walker/Kasich/Scott and Speaker Boehner.

    My all time favorite Great Idea of Ed Schultz: drop HCR and wait until after the 2010 elections to get a more ‘progressive’ bill. Because nothing empowers voters to run to the polls like failure.

    What has been amazing about the WI issue is how the real problems of real Americans are finally getting air time, as well as the true vindictiveness and people-hating policies of Republicans. The best thing Obama can do is stay out of the way. He has made it clear what he feels about unions and the public work force. The unions are happy with his stance on this issue.

    Progressives MUST stop looking for the next super hero to sufficiently inspire them, and without sufficient inspiration they choose to do nothing, including voting. The issues, the vision of a prosperous middle class America, the dangers of Republican leadership have got to be inspiration enough to get us to vote and keep fighting. It’s ridiculous that we’re always looking for a cartoon super hero to do all the heavy lifting.

  59. Good question? Unlike the President of United States whose job requires him to serve all the people, even those that hate him, the people you listed are not under the same requirement. Believe me, if the president was foolish enough to go join a labor protest in Wisconsin, very quickly the story would be about him and not the protesters. I can imagine headlines like these: “UNPRECEDENTED, PRESIDENT OBAMA DEMEANED THE OFFICE OF THE PRESIDENCY BY JOINING A LOCAL LABOR UNION PROTEST”; or, “IS PRESIDENT OBAMA, A PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OR IS HE VYING TO BE THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNION OF GOVERNMENT WORKERS?” or, “INSTEAD OF GOVERNING AND DEALING WITH ALL THE URGENT PROBLEMS, BOTH FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC, THE PRESIDENT CHOSE TO WASTE TAX DOLLARS TO GO TO WISCONSIN FOR PURELY POLITICAL REASONS-REWARDING THE LABOR UNIONS HE NEEDS TO WIN IN 2012. I could think of other sensational headlines but I am sure you get the point. May be I am getting old, but the idiotic ideas coming from the so called progressives are truly mind boggling.

  60. Thanks symmetry11 for the link. It seems that not all conservative have gone completely crazy.

  61. Haven’t you heard? Businesses are SO HAPPY that Republicans won in 2010, THAT’S the reason for hiring.


  62. Thanks for the link Ladyhawke. I just love skilled writers who use humor effectively to drive home serious points.

  63. Thanks Jenny for the link. I am no fan of Chris Matthews, but I think in the clip you linked he really shined. I always find it so refreshing when people with a microphone decide to tell the truth. May be he is beginning to reclaim his youth when, like most of us who grew up during that period, he was fired up by the idealism of our leaders. I am really proud of President Obama’s determination to inspire todays young people to reclaim the idealism, that makes life so exciting when you are young, instead of reveling in cynicism, which breeds selfishness.

  64. FORGIVE ME Y’ALL BUT I REALLY NEED TO VENT. One talking point coming from the simple-minded, antiObama left that reeeally gets under my skin is the “Obama doesn’t understand the rules of negotiation” or the “Obama always compromises before negotiations begin” line. Do these brainiacs really believe that negotiating in politics is completely analogous to the kind of negotiating that goes on when, say, buying a car? OF COURSE THE PRESIDENT UNDERSTANDS THAT FORM OF NEGOTIATION. Politics is a multi-dimensional chess game so the old one-dimensional strategy of “aim high/aim low” isn’t going to work in most cases. I’m truly sick of the pompous yet, oh-so-ignorant left thinking they know everything about everything when they’ve proven time and time again that they don’t know jack. And they certainly don’t know more than President Obama.

  65. ^Symmetry11, WE gotta thank Pelosi, especially, Reid & PBHO for that! 😉

  66. Hi, What IS Working…

    I agree, the GOPTeaParty has “gone off the deep end!”

    And, I ❤ your compulsiveness and ALL your suggestions! So, you keep 'em comin'! 😉

    By the way, this may help you w/your 'GOPTeaParty Ridiculous Things' list:

    Reality Slowly Dawns on House Republicans: Embracing the President’s Cuts and Avoiding a Shutdown Is the Right Path…

    'Nonsecurity' Spending Cuts Could Be Hazardous to Your Health: Reckless Budgeting Puts Americans at Risk…

  67. Of course, I guess there could be a GOP dark horse (pardon my pun) in the wings but I doubt it.

    Ugh, one more of this “pardon my pun”s and I can throw away this keyboard C>N>K.

  68. This is exciting and good news. Now we have to find a way to persuade some of the more eligible employable folks to go get retrained, change career paths and get into the fields where jobs are available.
    Somehow the word has to get out and we have to convince folks to go into Health care, Renewable Energy, etc; etc; the emerging world-wide fields. This would take care of a lot of ‘un-employment’. Before college we have to convince our High School counselors not to steer our children into “Liberal Arts” just to claim good graduation rates and no jobs at the end. There are too many children graudating from College but not in the right fields where jobs are available. I could go on and say that somehow a larger protion of the Black population have to believe that this land is our land and be better prepared to participate and take advantage of the oppurtunities this ocuntry provides.

  69. An update about events in Wisconsin, which includes video of the senator being tackled. Unbelievable…

    “Wisconsin’s Capitol building has “always been open to state legislators, to come and go as they please,” state Representative Nick Milroy (D), the lawmaker who was tackled by Wisconsin Capitol Police on Thursday night, told TPM in an interview on Friday. But this week, he says, has been different.”

    “All tackling aside, Milroy’s Capitol key card was disabled on Monday, and he doesn’t know when it will work again — leaving him unable to access the building freely, as he used to do.”

    “On Wednesday, the Capitol Police sent a memo to legislature members saying, “As you know, key card access for Capitol staff was disabled on Monday.”


    “Milroy said he sought out the officer who tackled him later on Thursday. “I told him I’m sorry it got that far, and it shouldn’t have gotten that far,” he said. “He told me that he was stressed out, too.”

    “Milroy doesn’t blame the officers for what happened, and said law enforcement officers “have been doing an exemplary job” since the protests began. Instead, Milroy places the blame on Walker.”

    “This is just what happens when you just have such poor leadership from the top down,” he said.

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