Flanked by members of his economic team – including outgoing Council of Economic Advisers Dr. Christina Romer, whose replacement has yet to be named – President Obama chose to look at the silver lining in the economic clouds of today’s jobs report – not even mentioning that August saw a net job loss of 54,000 jobs.
“In the month I took office, we were losing 750,000 jobs a month,” the president said. “This morning, new figures show the economy produced 67,000 private sector jobs in August, the eighth consecutive month of private job growth. Additionally, the numbers for July were revised upward to 107,000. Now that's positive news, and it reflects the steps we've already taken to break the back of this recession.”
The net job loss for August is largely because of the layoffs of 114,000 Census temporary workers.
When May’s job numbers showed a net increase of 431,000 jobs – 411,000 of which were Census jobs — the president did note that “most of these jobs this month that we’re seeing in the statistics represent workers who’ve been hired to complete the 2010 census.” But in those June 4 remarks the president didn’t detail just how many of the 431,000 jobs were Census jobs – 95% of them — and he cited the overall report, and its deceptively large number as evidence that businesses are “starting to hire again. Workers who were laid off, they’re starting to get their jobs back. Companies that were almost forced to close their doors are making plans to expand and invest in new equipment.”
Today the president refrained from mentioning the net job loss of 54,000 jobs, or ever that August brought a net job loss. He said that the 67,000 private sector jobs created were “not nearly good enough” and said he would “in the weeks ahead” be detailing “further steps to create jobs and keep the economy growing, including extending tax cuts for the middle class and investing in the areas of our economy where the potential for job growth is greatest.”
As he did Monday, the president again called on Congress “to make passing a small-business jobs bill its first order of business when it gets back into session later this month,” and scolded Senate Republicans for having “blocked this bill, a needless delay that has led small-business owners across this country to put off hiring, put off expanding and put off plans that will make our economy stronger.”
Asked what the other incentives will be, the president said he would be “addressing a broader package of ideas next week.”
Asked to what degree he regrets his administration's decision to call this Recovery Summer, the president stammered then said, “I don't regret the notion that we are moving forward, but because of the steps that we've taken. And I'm going to have a press conference next week, where, after you guys are able to hear where we're at, we'll be able to answer some specific questions.”
He emphasized: “the key point I'm making right now is that the economy is moving in a positive direction, jobs are being created; they're just not being created as fast as they need to, given the big hole that we experienced…We're moving in the right direction. We just have to speed it up.”
-Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller