Jobs Data Leads To Political Spin


The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) provided their monthly Employment Situation Summary on Friday, showing American unemployment had dropped. Republicans and Democrats used the data to support their differing positions on creating jobs. 

Unemployment numbers dropped to 8.6% from the previous 9%. The reported number of new jobs totaled 120,000 dropping the total number of unemployed to 13.3 million. The report, however, showed that the number of multiple job holders increased from 6.9 million in October to just over 7 million in November. Also, the number of discouraged workers increased by 129,000 to over 1 million from the BLS October data. Discouraged workers are those who did not actively look for work in the previous four weeks.

It is easy to see that the data is not encouraging for either party. Both are coming to a realization that they must refocus their efforts on job creation and soon. While there was a small increase in jobs, the increase in multiple job holders and discouraged workers did not help either side. This did not stop Democrats and Republicans from using the data to support their respective positions.

President Barack Obama spoke about the new data on Friday. During a speech, he stated that Congress must continue to work on job creation and pass his payroll tax cut as well as renew unemployment insurance for job seekers. Obama did mention his disappointment with Republican senators blocking passage of his payroll tax cut extension. 

Friday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement on the jobs data report. While he welcomed any job creation, he pointed out that the Obama administration’s promise of unemployment rates below 8% remains unfulfilled. He also stated that the President should call on Democratic senators to vote on 25 bipartisan bills waiting in the Senate. 

Maybe the job numbers, along with Obama’s muted attack and Boehner’s statement, have led to some action. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will propose a compromise to Republican counterparts. The compromise is expected to be a new way to pay for the payroll tax cut. Republicans have not supported any tax increases as part of any extension.

Any compromise will not have an immediate effect on creating new jobs. Extending the payroll tax cut will not solve the current unemployment situation but will help. With many part-time positions created for the holiday shopping season set to expire, permanent full time jobs must be a priority for both parties.

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