Heartland Institute Economic Experts React to October Jobs Report

The unemployment rate dropped below 8 percent for the first time since the first month of the Obama presidency, falling from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September. The U.S. Labor Department said the economy added 114,000 jobs last month, and it revised upward the number of Americans who found work in the previous three months.

The following statements from economics experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Tammy Nash at [email protected] and 312/377-4000. After regular business hours, contact Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/731-9364.

“The news reports regarding today’s unemployment rate are highly misleading. There are two different sources of job data – payrolls and surveys. The payroll numbers show private payrolls growing at the same 1 percent annual rate as in recent months. This is down from 2 percent increases in private payrolls in 2010 and 2011. Hence, the sluggish job growth continues.

“The job survey numbers are a different story. They show a gain of over 800,000 jobs in September. These are the numbers that go into the unemployment rate of 7.8 percent. The survey numbers are highly volatile. They show a decline of over 300,000 jobs in the previous two months. Over the past six months the survey job numbers show about the same 1 percent annual increase in jobs as the payroll numbers. Hence, there has been no improvement in the job market. It remains weaker than it was in 2010 and 2011.”

Robert Genetski
Policy Advisor, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“Yeah, the unemployment rate is 7.8 percent … in Venezuela. When was it decided that would be the rate this month? In February, at the Obama campaign? This unemployment report reflects not the state of unemployment today, but corruption.

“So many millions have left the work force over the past several months? Based on what exactly? What Labor Department American Federation of Government Employees career bureaucrats say? That justifies only an investigation into corruption at the Labor Department employment statistics office, with more than just firings at stake, but criminal liability as well.

“This will not work to Obama’s political advantage, but just the opposite. The corruption of our federal government it represents will only further outrage voters. This is the equivalent of an attempted coup d’etat.”

Peter Ferrara
Senior Fellow for Entitlement and Budget Policy
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The big disparity between the household and payroll surveys makes me skeptical that this is a beginning of a huge employment surge. The moderate stock market gains since the numbers were announced confirm that investors are only cautiously optimistic about this report. And it does not erase my belief that abysmal public policies have contributed to the slowest recovery in more than 70 years.”

Richard Vedder
Professor of Economics, Ohio University
Policy Advisor, Economics
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“It’s good that more people had jobs, but it’s a long way from where the country needs to be. For jobs growth to keep up with the growth in the population, the nation needs to add more than 200,000 jobs a month, each and every month. And there are still 3.4 million fewer jobs than there were just four years ago.”

Steve Stanek
Research Fellow, Budget and Tax Policy
The Heartland Institute
Managing Editor
Budget & Tax News
[email protected]

“The employer survey was consistent with previous trends, but the household survey, the one showing 873,000 newly employed, is nearly eight times as high as the employer report. Who is employing these people if not employers? This casts serious doubt on this good news.”

S.T. Karnick
Director of Research
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The unemployment numbers released by the Labor Department today are highly suspect, and may well be the result of a statistical anomaly given the disparity between the number of new jobs reported and the decrease in the unemployment rate. Even if the unemployment rate is accurate, it is hardly a sign of robust economic recovery; any optimism felt is the result of lowered expectations after nearly four years of unemployment rates over 8 percent.

“When policies are introduced that eliminate the uncertainty over looming tax increases, and the country’s job creators are confident in the direction the country is heading, we will see true recovery driven by the private sector.”

Jonathan Steitz
Policy Advisor, Budgets and Taxes
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

The Heartland Institute is a 28-year-old national nonprofit organization headquartered in Chicago, Illinois. Its mission is to discover, develop, and promote free-market solutions to social and economic problems. For more information, visit our Web site or call 312/377-4000.