Saturday, October 31, 2009

Regardless of the Number of Jobs This Administration Claims to Have "Saved," The Unemployment Rate Is Still Almost 10%

The White House is laughably trying to claim that it has "saved" 640,000--er, make that 1 million jobs, but has to admit to a lot of fuzzy math to get to that figure.

The White House argues that the actual job number is actually larger than 640,000 -- closer to 1 million jobs when one factors in stimulus jobs added in October and, more importantly, jobs created indirectly, such as "the waitress who's still on the job," Vice President Biden said today.

Now, is that the waitress who has a job today but has already been told that she's being let go at the end of the week? I guess that's above Biden's paygrade to assess. Lots of people have survived layoffs to this point but who are in line to get cut by, say, January.

And more to the point, even if we credit the Obama administration with "saving" 1 million jobs, those jobs come at the cost of $160,000 a piece.
Jared Bernstein, chief economist and senior economic advisor to the vice president, called that "calculator abuse."

He said the cost per job was actually $92,000 -- but acknowledged that estimate is for the whole stimulus package as of the end of 2010.

$92,000 for a waitressing job? That's an accomplishment only the echo chambers at Delaware Liberal could love.

It's true that GDP was up 3.5% for the quarter, but as long as unemployment stays around 10%, the Obama recession isn't going to be over in most people's minds. And don't bother with the "unemployment is a lagging indicator" meme. If you just won the layoff lottery, you aren't too interested in lagging or leading indicators.