A Bit of Perspective on Job Creation, and a Prediction

Here’s part of what Mark Gongloff and Bonnie Kavoussi, at the Huffington Post, have to say about the lackluster employment numbers that came out today (120,000 new jobs in March):

The economy has created 1.2 million nonfarm payroll jobs in the past six months — great news.

But nearly 668,000 of those jobs — more than 55 percent — have been created in the retail, temp, “health care and social assistance” and “leisure and hospitality” sectors, notes [economist Joseph] Brusuelas.

These sectors account for only 29 percent of the total labor force, he adds, meaning that they take up a small portion of the economy, but are having an outsize effect on job growth.

That’s likely to continue. The restaurant sector, for example, is expected to hire more than 400,000 people this summer, MSNBC’s Economy Watch blog reported this week: “For all you foodies hoping to land a gig in the glamorous restaurant industry in the months and years ahead, there will be plenty of jobs to be had. The problem is, many of the jobs don’t come with a glamorous paycheck.”

President Obama’s reelection bid, I think, is pretty much sunk by these tepid employment numbers, and there’s nothing to suggest that the months between now and election day are going to report job numbers all that different from these. If there are a couple of big employment gain months between now and November, they will be undercut by the fact that half the improvement in the numbers will be the result of burger-flipping jobs.

I love President Obama and hope he somehow gets a second term, but I think we’re going to have to get used to the phrase President Romney, as we’ll almost certainly all be using it after January 20th, 2013.

And maybe he’ll make a decent president. We’ll see.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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