Greg Ip

Articles by The Economist’s U.S. Economics Editor

America’s jobs crisis: A choice of medicines

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A dismal employment picture precipitates competing remedies from the president and his challengers. But will any of them work?

Sep 10th 2011 | WASHINGTON, DC | from the print edition

[Greg Ip]  BARACK OBAMA began his first term trying to turn around a struggling economy and reassure an electorate consumed by anxiety about jobs. It increasingly looks as though he will end it in the same way. On September 2nd the government reported no net jobs were created in August. To be precise, private firms created 17,000 jobs while governments trimmed payrolls by the same amount. Adjusting for striking mobile-phone company workers, underlying private job growth was actually more like 60,000, consistent with an economy still growing; but barely. 


August was a particularly unfortunate month: it began with a reckless stand-off over raising the national debt limit and a downgrade to America’s credit rating, and ended with a hurricane. Throughout, Europe’s debt crisis simmered away. Yet a longer view is no more flattering to the president. Employment is some 2.4m, or 2%, lower than when Mr Obama took office in January 2009 and the unemployment rate, still stuck at 9.1%, is higher (see chart). Presidents are seldom re-elected on such dismal job performance (see Lexington).

If there is any silver lining, it is the increased urgency with which Mr Obama and his Republican opponents have sought solutions.

The entire article is linked here.


Written by gregip

September 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm

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