Woo-hoo! Finally, a jobs report even a cynical economics blogger could love.
And yet, the quibbles bubble up. This is a great jobs report by recent standards, but it is not a great jobs report compared to what we need for a sound recovery. At this rate, employment will take years to return to pre-recession levels, and at that point, we'll still be below where we should be, because the workforce is still growing.
A lot of bloggers and commentators out there are worried about government layoffs pushing us back into the ditch. I think if you believe in the "strong" version of stimulus (multipliers 2x or higher), then this implies that we're probably going back into the ditch regardless of the prevailing political ideology. We're seeing 8.9% unemployment with a $1.6 trillion federal deficit. There's no way we're going to continue that for another three years or so. Politically, it's not supportable, and while I know that the deficit anti-hawks will scoff, I'm skeptical that the markets will happily lend us another $5 trillion in such a short period without demanding higher interest rate premiums.
Me, I'm not so worried, because I'm fairly lukewarm on stimulus--not a huge opponent, but also skeptical of the more optimistic claims about its effects. Mostly I'm watching the private sector, and what we see in this report is that they're finally getting optimistic enough to do more hiring. It's not enough to undo all the misery. But it's a start.
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