Council of Economic Advisers Blog

  • The Employment Situation in October

    While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. 

    Most pressing, President Obama has proposed, and the Senate has passed, an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers.

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector businesses added 184,000 jobs last month, the biggest monthly gain in eight months. Total non-farm payroll employment rose by 171,000 jobs in October. Revisions to the previous two months added another 84,000 jobs.  The economy has now added private sector jobs for 32 straight months, and a total of 5.4 million jobs have been added during that period, taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision. 

  • Advance Estimate of GDP for the Third Quarter of 2012

    Today’s report shows that the economy posted its thirteenth straight quarter of positive growth, as real GDP (the total amount of goods and services produced in the country) grew at a 2.0 percent annual rate in the third quarter of this year, according to the “advance” estimate released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Over the last thirteen quarters, the economy has expanded by 7.2 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 10.1 percent. While we have more work to do, together with other economic indicators, this report provides further evidence that the economy is moving in the right direction.

    It is important to recognize that GDP is made up of various components. Personal consumption expenditures, for example, increased by 2.0 percent at an annual rate in 2012:Q3, as compared with 1.5 percent in the previous quarter. Residential investment increased by 14.4 percent last quarter and has increased for six quarters in a row, its longest streak since 2004-2005. Federal defense spending rose 13.0 percent, federal nondefense spending rose 3.0 percent, and state and local government purchases were essentially unchanged. The severe drought, which has affected more than half of the country, subtracted 0.4 percentage point from overall GDP growth.

    To strengthen economic growth and increase job creation, President Obama has proposed to Congress a plan that would help State and local governments retain and hire teachers and first responders, would assist the construction sector and economy of tomorrow by rebuilding and modernizing our Nation’s infrastructure, and would give small businesses tax cuts to encourage them to increase payroll. President Obama also proposed extending tax cuts to protect middle class families and virtually every small business owner from getting a tax increase at the beginning of next year. Extending these tax cuts would provide more certainty for the economy for 98 percent of American families and 97 percent of small business owners.

    Alan B. Krueger is the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors.

  • The Employment Situation in September

    While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. 

    Most pressing, Congress should pass an extension of middle class tax cuts that President Obama proposed, and the Senate passed.  This extension would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase at the beginning of next year. In addition, the President has proposed a plan that will enable responsible homeowners to refinance their mortgage and take advantage of today’s historically low interest rates. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to urge Congress to pass elements of the American Jobs Act, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders.

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 104,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 114,000. Revisions to the previous two months added another 86,000 jobs.  The economy has now added private sector jobs for 31 straight months. Taking account of the preliminary benchmark revision (+453,000) released last week, the economy has added a total of 5.2 million private sector jobs during that period.

  • Today’s Economic Data

    More than the usual amount of economic statistics were released this morning. As a whole, today’s economic news shows that while we are still fighting back from the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, we are making progress. We lost more than 8 million jobs and GDP contracted by almost 5 percent as a result of the Great Recession. We have more work to do, but incorporating today’s preliminary benchmark revision to the employment figures released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics with their earlier data indicates that the economy has added nearly 5.1 million private sector jobs, on net, over the past 30 months. BLS announced that total employment likely grew by 386,000 more jobs than previously announced during the 12 months from March 2011 to March 2012, and by 453,000 more private sector jobs in that same time period. In the past decade, the absolute difference between the preliminary and final benchmark revision has averaged 37,000 jobs.

  • The Employment Situation in August

    While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007. To create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and to enable them to rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has also proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year. 

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 103,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 96,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 30 straight months, for a total of 4.6 million jobs during that period.

    The household survey showed that the unemployment rate declined from 8.3 percent to 8.1 percent in August. 

    Employment rose notably in leisure and hospitality (+34,000), professional and business services (+28,000), health care and social assistance (+21,700), and wholesale trade (+7,900). Manufacturing lost 15,000 jobs, including a 7,500 drop in motor vehicles and parts, which is partly payback for there having been relatively few seasonal auto plant shutdowns in July.  Over the past 30 months, manufacturers have added more than 500,000 jobs.  Government lost 7,000 jobs, as state government payrolls fell by 6,000 and local governments shed 4,000 jobs. Since February 2010, State and local governments have lost 504,000 jobs.

  • The Employment Situation in July

    While there is more work that remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover from the worst downturn since the Great Depression.  It is critical that we continue the policies that build an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.  To build on the progress of the last few years, President Obama has proposed an extension of middle class tax cuts that would prevent the typical middle class family from facing a $2,200 tax increase next year.  In addition, to create more jobs in particularly hard-hit sectors, President Obama continues to support the elements of the American Jobs Act that have not yet passed, including further investment in infrastructure to rebuild our Nation’s ports, roads and highways, and assistance to State and local governments to prevent layoffs and rehire hundreds of thousands of teachers and first responders. 

    Today’s report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) shows that private sector establishments added 172,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 163,000. The economy has now added private sector jobs for 29 straight months, for a total of 4.5 million jobs during that period. 

    The household survey showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217% in June to 8.254% in July).  Acting BLS Commissioner John Galvin noted in his statement that the unemployment rate was “essentially unchanged” from June to July.