Roger Runningen and Catherine Dodge:
Obama Says Jobs Report Shows U.S. Economy Improving, `Stark Turnaround': President Barack Obama said today's unemployment figures, while showing a "stark turnaround" from last year, indicate there's still a "great deal" of work to do to repair the economy and get Americans back on the job. "Make no mistake, we are headed in the right direction," the president said at Andrews Air Force Base outside Washington. "We are not headed there fast enough for a lot of Americans. We're not headed there fast enough for me either."... Obama said the report "showed the sixth straight month of job growth in the private sector." The economy has created almost 600,000 private-sector jobs this year, the president said.
Employment has to rise by roughly 130K a month to keep even with labor force growth and keep the labor market from declining further. 600K in six months doesn't make it.
Obama should be saying that his policies have helped stop the economic decline. He should not be saying that the state of the business cycle is "improving." Even more so, he should not believe and act on a belief that the state of the business cycle is "improving." It ain't so:
Ezra Klein is also noting how excessive spin in the message is harming policy development:
Ezra Klein - The White House's economic message: "Today's employment report shows continued signs of gradual labor market recovery," reads the first line of Christina Romer's analysis of the May jobs report. She emphasizes the 83,000 jobs created in the private sector (the 125,000 net job loss is due to census jobs expiring), and says that non-census employment rose by 100,000. That's true... but... census jobs were still jobs, and we're not growing nearly fast enough to reabsorb those workers. Romer's blog post and recent statements from and meetings with administration officials suggest that the White House's broad approach on the economy is to emphasize how much improvement there is, rather than how much needs to be done. That makes political sense.... The economy has largely stabilized, which is a huge achievement, and the only chance Democrats have in the midterms is convincing the country that they're responsible.... But it also makes it difficult for the White House to run around with its hair on fire about how bad things are and how necessary it is that Congress doesn't abandon the labor market in order to pretend to care about the deficit.