Friday, February 05, 2010

Bush Boom

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has done some significant revisions to its numbers for total non-farm employment (measured from employer payrolls). They provide a sobering bookend to the George Bush presidency.

Total non-farm employment in January 2001 (i.e. when his term began): 132.5 million. In January 2009: 133.5 million. 1 million more jobs in an economy of that size over 8 years is a pathetic performance.

In addition, the BLS has revised downwards the level of employment in March 2009 by 900,000 jobs (the numbers are updated for each March when fuller information comes in). The dominant reason for the revision is that the BLS was overestimating the number of jobs in new businesses during April 2008-March 2009. Thus even at the time that "small businesses!" were being used as an argument against everything from estate taxes to health care reform, their job creation ability had collapsed.

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