December Jobs Report Reveals Tepid Jobs Growth

A tepid December jobs report tops off a tepid year.


The U.S. economy ended the year with rather tepid growth in the employment sector, according to the final Jobs Report before Donald Trump becomes President:

The unemployment rate, at 4.7 percent, and the number of unemployed persons, at 7.5 million, changed little in December. However, both measures edged down in the fourth quarter, after showing little net change earlier in the year. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (4.4 percent), adult  women (4.3 percent), teenagers (14.7 percent), Whites (4.3 percent), Blacks (7.8 percent), Asians (2.6 percent), and Hispanics (5.9 pezzzzrcent) showed little change in December. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 1.8 million in December and accounted for 24.2 percent of the unemployed. In 2016, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 263,000. (See table A-12.)

The labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in December and was unchanged over the year. In December, the employment-population ratio was 59.7 percen for the third consecutive month; this measure showed little change, on net, in 2016. (See table A-1.)


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 156,000 in December, with an increase in health care and social assistance. Job growth totaled 2.2 million in 2016, less than the increase
of 2.7 million in 2015. (See table B-1.)

Employment in health care rose by 43,000 in December, with most of the increase occurring in ambulatory health care services (+30,000) and hospitals (+11,000). Health care added
an average of 35,000 jobs per month in 2016, roughly in line with the average monthly gain of 39,000 in 2015.

Social assistance added 20,000 jobs in December, reflecting job growth in individual and family services (+21,000). In 2016, social assistance added 92,000 jobs, down from an  increase of 162,000 in 2015.

Employment in food services and drinking places continued to trend up in December (+30,000). This industry added 247,000 jobs in 2016, fewer than the 359,000 jobs gained in 2015.

Employment also continued to trend up in transportation and warehousing in December (+15,000). Within the industry, employment expanded by 12,000 in couriers and messengers.
In 2016, transportation and warehousing added 62,000 jobs, down from a gain of 110,000 jobs in 2015.

Employment in financial activities continued on an upward trend in December (+13,000). This is in line with the average monthly gains for the industry over the past 2 years.

In December, employment edged up in manufacturing (+17,000), with a gain of 15,000 in the durable goods component. However, since reaching a recent peak in January, manufacturing employment has declined by 63,000.

Employment in professional and business services was little changed in December (+15,000), following an increase of 65,000 in November. The industry added 522,000 jobs in 2016.

Employment in other major industries, including mining, construction, wholesale trade, retail trade, information, and government, changed little in December.

In addition, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the job creation number for October was revised down from +142,000 to +135,000, and November’s number was revised upward from +178,000 to +204,000, for a net revision for the two months of 19,000 more jobs created than previously reported. With these numbers, the past three months have averaged +165,000, which was lower than the three-month average we saw last month. For the year, the economy created 2,155,000 new jobs, for an average of 179, 583 new jobs created per month, which is also a lower figure than the one we saw last month. As noted above, this annual figure is below the number of new jobs we saw in 2015 and in 2014,  which is a potential sign that we may be reaching the area that economists refer to as “full employment” where further significant jobs growth is unlikely absent far more robust economic growth than we can probably realistically hope for. At the same time, it’s worth noting that there were 15,000,000 new jobs created between 2010 and 2016, for an average of roughly 1,250,000 for those six years, a decent number but hardly one to celebrate given past post-recession recoveries. Looking deeper into the report, the long-term unemployment rate now stands at its lowest rate since April 2008, suggesting that the majority of the jobs lost during the Great Recession have been replaced, although it’s worth noting that in many cases it’s likely they were replaced by jobs in other sectors that ended up being lower-paying that the jobs that were lost in 2007 and 2008. Additionally, the labor force participation and employment participation rates were essentially unchanged in December, and unchanged for year, suggesting that there remains a significant portion of the population that has essentially given up on finding work.

Beyond the jobs numbers, the report shows a solid increase in both average hourly wages and the average work week. For the year, earnings increased by a quite respectable 2.9% year-over-year. As I’ve said before, wage growth has been one of the most positive areas of the economy for the year that just concluded. In fact, during this January to December period wages grew at the strongest pace since the end of the recession. So, as we near the end of the Obama Presidency we find an economy that has been robust since roughly the summer of 2009 notwithstanding the fact that the recovery from the recession was among the slowest since the end of World War Two and one which arguably hasn’t really recovered yet from the depths of the recession.

The New York Times focuses on the tepid nature of the report, and how it sets the stage for the transition to a new Presidential Administration:

The American economy added 156,000 jobs last month, capping the final full month of President Obama’s term on a tepid note, even as his successor, Donald J. Trump, promises that much bigger gains could be around the corner.

The unemployment rate, which fell sharply in November, edged up to 4.7 percent, according to the Labor Department report on Friday. Before the announcement, economists had been looking for a gain of 175,000 jobs for the month.

For all his criticism of Mr. Obama’s economic stewardship during the campaign, Mr. Trump inherits an economy that is fundamentally solid. Consumer sentiment, corporate profits and the stock market are all at or near multiyear highs.

To be sure, the economic worries that enabled Mr. Trump to capture the Rust Belt and in turn the White House persist: The future for Americans without a college degree or specialized skills is dim; millions of former workers are still on the sideline; and factory jobs are disappearing.

Although it is not reflected in the December figures, many low-wage workers are receiving a raise this year, as 19 states increased the local minimum wage. Some of the increases were substantial, with Arizona, Maine and Washington each raising the floor by $1.50 or more per hour.

Even in California, where the wage gain is not as steep, rising 50 cents an hour, one in 10 workers has received a raise. And minimum-wage gains can have a spillover effect, pushing up pay for workers just above the bottom salary tier.

As on many issues, Mr. Trump has sent conflicting signals on this subject, suggesting at times during the campaign that state increases were justified, but warning in primary debates that wages were “too high.”

In the past, many Republicans have opposed mandated minimum-wage increases, arguing that for every lift, more low-wage jobs are cut or left unfilled as employers struggle with having to pay more and still eke out a profit.

Among economists, the costs and benefits of rising minimum wages are the subject of considerable debate, and experts will be watching sectors like retail, restaurants and food service for signs of a dip in hiring, at least in the short term.

With the election behind us, the most important question that arises out of these numbers and future economic reports is what it means for Federal Reserve policy going forward. The modest increase in interest rates that we saw in December hasn’t appeared to have an immediate impact on either Wall Street or the economy as a whole, but it’s arguably too early to tell if that will ultimately prove to be true. Additionally, the fate of future Fed plans to raise rates over the coming year will depend significantly on the data that comes out over the next several months regarding both the final quarter of 2016 and the opening months of 2017. These numbers will also provide us with a helpful benchmark to measure how the economy reacts to the new Administration and whatever policy proposals it may make going forward. Realistically speaking, it will be several months at the very least before we can even begin to realistically say that what we are seeing from the economy is a result of Trump Administration policies.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. al-Ameda says:

    It’s clear to me that this ‘tepid’ jobs report is the result of Trump being elected president.

    Again, coming off the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, we’ve had 6 years of stead if modest growth, something conservatives are dismissive of.

  2. rachel says:

    Realistically speaking, it will be several months at the very least before we can even begin to realistically say that what we are seeing from the economy is a result of Trump Administration policies.

    Back when Obama had first been elected (but had not taken office yet) and the unemployment rate was rocketing skyward, a ‘conservative’ on one of the boards I hung out at solemnly assured me that the reason the economy had blown up was because everybody was terrified of the incoming administration. It was a stupid argument to make then and would be a stupid one to make now.

    ETA: I had no idea al-Ameda was going to say that. You’re joking, right?

  3. Pch101 says:

    Mitt Romney promised to deliver a 6% unemployment rate at the end of his first term.

    The unemployment rate is currently 4.7%.

    The country is close to full employment, which is why the Fed has been implementing rate increases. I’m not sure how much job creation that you’re expecting to see when there aren’t many workers available to take those jobs.

  4. al-Ameda says:


    ETA: I had no idea al-Ameda was going to say that. You’re joking, right?

    Yes, I was joking/snarking. Sometimes that does not come across well here.

    The context for the snark was that nearly every periodic jobs report posted here has been headlined as weak or disappointing.

    And here I thought that steady modest economic growth was a good path to be on?

  5. Scott says:

    It seems to me that slow and steady is the way to go. Sure we can rev up the economy by increasing deficits spending and borrowing. But that could drive inflation and interest rates and then the inevitable down cycle will happen. Her in Texas, the real estate market is really heating up (in the hated urban areas, where people really want to live) and there are an increasing amount of stories about upward wage pressures.

  6. MBunge says:

    Putting on my future-historian hat, it seems as if a big part of Barack Obama’s legacy will be that he saved the American (and global) economic elite from a disaster of their own making, and saved the rest of us from being consumed by it, but could never again separate himself from that elite. He restored stock prices and corporate profits but beyond that, the economy under Obama has been little better than “meh” and he has seemed happy with that.

    Legitimate intellectuals will give Obama a break because GOP intransigence motivated by ideology/partisanship/racism severely limited his ability to do much economically, but they’ll also hold him accountable for spending his second term and more doing little to nothing even rhetorically about persistent economic problems. No one expects a sitting President to sound like Elizabeth Warren but after the 2014 midterms, there was nothing stopping Obama from bluntly acknowledging things like income inequality, stagnant wage growth, the aggressive cancer that is our outsized financial industry and our desperate need for an overhaul and upgrade of America’s public infrastructure. Instead, he offered a vision that things as they are is basically as good as we can expect and one of the things that got Trump elected is people who want to at least hope for more than a little better than “meh.”


  7. James in Bremerton says:

    Tepid or not, these numbers have to keep improving or the fickle public will will turn on the already weak GOP. Having “won” across the board, governing is now on the table, and there is never a long list of GOP governing achievements whenever that happens.

    The idea is to dismantle such that the waiting theocratic oligarchy can be ushered in. Absent jobs, that will never happen, no matter how many state houses the GOP “won”.

    Not only must the jobs keep coming, government has to tell the truth about people who want good jobs in the present: you’re going to have to go back to school for that.

  8. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @James in Bremerton:

    government has to tell the truth about people who want good jobs in the present: you’re going to have to go back to school for that.

    THAT !!!

    Incidentally that is exactly what HRC was talking about especially regarding WV coal mining workers (retraining). Telling the “the truth” sorta backfired.

  9. Stormy Dragon says:

    I wonder what the non-seasonally adjusted numbers were? It seems to me that with on-line shopping increasingly replacing in person retail, there may be less of a “holiday bump” than there once was.

  10. Gustopher says:

    Additionally, the labor force participation and employment participation rates were essentially unchanged in December, and unchanged for year, suggesting that there remains a significant portion of the population that has essentially given up on finding work.

    I really don’t understand this interpretation — it comes up a lot on the right, to call job reports “tepid” and things like that.

    If the unemployment rate is 5%, people can find jobs if they want or need one. It doesn’t seem like people have given up on finding work, unless they give up really easily. What evidence is there that these people have given up?

    If the unemployment rate was 15% or so, it would make more sense to assume that people gave up.

    Anecdotal evidence: I have two friends who haven’t worked in about a year. They are both software engineers in Seattle, and could find work with minimal effort (everyone is hiring software engineers here). They don’t work because they don’t want to, not because the economy is tepid.

  11. michael reynolds says:


    I think that’s a fair analysis. Obama saved us from falling off the edge of a cliff, but he did not deliver us to the promised land.

    Where I differ perhaps is in suspecting there ain’t no promised land. I think this is the world now, and it’s not likely to change. The UE rate in Germany is 4.2%, the UK is at 5.4%, Canada is pushing 7%. This link is to a table of labor force participation rates by country. We outperform Japan, Germany and France, underperform the UK and Canada. Are we better off than Germany and worse off than Canada? Nope, not really.

    What’s happening appears to be a phenomenon that persists across all developed economies. The assumption that growth in employment and wages is the norm and is only slowed by some sort of malfeasance or nonfeasance is, I strongly suspect, wrong. Rather, I think we’ve been assuming that an anomalous three decade period from the end of WW2 to the 70’s is the norm, and it quite clearly is not.

    So, we are like children who convince themselves they’re getting a pony for Christmas despite the fact that they live in a two bedroom apartment in Manhattan and are bound by virtue of our foolish assumptions to suffer disappointment. Now, if someone wants to start a war where 60 million people die and all but one major economy is destroyed, and then follow it up by sequestering a billion or so people behind an iron curtain, sure, that might work. Assuming that we are once again the only untouched major economy. Failing that, I think this is probably the way the world is when it enjoys a 70 year pax Americana.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    FWIW, my industry (Medical Devices) really are slowing down investment because of the election. No one really understands yet what it will mean when Obamacare is repealed and so everyone is being cautious. I’m not privy to C level discussions, but I would imagine if they repeal without a replacement it may cause panic.

    Or who knows, maybe not. Aside from the insurance aspects, Obamacare has done a lot in shifting from fee for service to fee for disease state. What does this mean? Well, 10 years ago if a hospital took you in, fixed your hernia, discharged you, and then readmitted you because you developed an infection, they could charge for that. Heck, if you developed the infection while in the hospital due to their poor practices, they could keep you in and charge separately for that. Under the Obamacare changes hospitals can’t change the payers or the patients for shoddy work, creating a tremendous incentive to get it right the first time. If hospitals lag the average outcomes, they get penalized across the board.

    So, if the GOP just repeals everything, we may be back to double digit growth in medical bills and a lot more equipment being used. That would be really beneficial to the health care industries bottom line, and create a refocus on selling domesticallly. Most of the big manufacturers have been focused on the international markets for the past ten years but that could change if, say, Europe is still holding to the outcomes based model and the US goes back to fee for service. US companies will lose the international market in the long term if they go back to significant yearly price rises, but the CEO’s will have a bangup few years in the process. They make their 100’s of millions and walk away before the carcass hits the floor.

  13. michael reynolds says:

    Looking again at the Labor Force Participation Rate – a number we only started hearing about when Obama’s economy started to create jobs – the top ten LFPR countries are. . . drumroll. . .

    Slovakia, Tanzania, Iceland, North Korea, United Kingdom, Estonia, Macau, Norway, Denmark and New Zealand.

    What exactly does that tell us? That we need some combination of socialism, juche, casino gambling, natural resource dependency, and sheep farming? And what is Tanzania’s secret, anyway?

    No, it tells us not a single damn thing. The participation rate is just the latest irrelevant statistic deployed by witch doctors (some prefer the term, ‘economists’) to prove whatever they wish to ‘prove’ for purely partisan reasons. The fact is we don’t know how to guide the economy. We are in the leeches and vicious bodily humors stage of economic science – we don’t understand how economies work, we don’t know what to do to make things better, this is not even remotely science, it is bulls–t dressed up as science for the purpose of enriching one group over another.

  14. Jen says:

    @Gustopher: Anecdotally, from another perspective–I live in New Hampshire. Parts of the economy here, particularly the paper mills up in the north country, have been on a decline/death spiral for years, same with some manufacturing. We also have a booming tech industry, led by companies like Dyn and DEKA. A lot of people who have lost jobs in the north country aren’t just physically separated from the jobs in the southern part of the state, they aren’t qualified for them either. Where towns are in decline, people cannot sell homes to move, even if they could find jobs elsewhere, so they get pinned down in a place where there just isn’t much around. Meanwhile, other parts of the state are starved for employees, so much so it has been the topic of a lot of articles in the local paper.

    In other words, anecdotally in this area, if there’s a labor participation mismatch, it’s because there is a skills and mobility mismatch.

  15. Pch101 says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Labor force participation is largely a measure of people who can’t, won’t or shouldn’t work.

    Full-time students.



    Stay-at-home parents.

    Those who have given up jobs to take care of sick and disabled family members.

    “Unemployment” measures those who don’t have jobs but who want them. (The U-6 rate also measures those who have jobs but would like to work more, i.e. the underemployed.) The 90 year-old grandma in the retirement village and teenager who is devoting his/her young life to a college prep track may not have jobs, but they aren’t “unemployed.”

    One could conceivably increase labor force participation by killing off old folks, forcing stay-at-home moms back into the workforce, and pulling teenagers out of school and put them into sweatshops.

    A more civilized way to increase labor force participation would be to provide free or low-cost care for the disabled so that the family members who care for them could go back to work. Good luck getting the right-wing to support that — perhaps they don’t really give a s**t about labor force participation, after all.

  16. gVOR08 says:


    Sure we can rev up the economy by increasing deficits spending and borrowing.

    They’ll be deficit spending, but revving the economy ain’t the reason. But I’m sure they’ll use that as an excuse. And blame Obama when it doesn’t work.

  17. gVOR08 says:

    @MBunge: Blaming the victims for congressional intransigence. Very Republican of you.

  18. MBunge says:

    @michael reynolds: Where I differ perhaps is in suspecting there ain’t no promised land.

    I think what was made by Man can be unmade by Man and made again better…or at least different. If we’ve entered a new economic status quo or paradigm, then if we can’t change it we can at least create policies to deal with it and not just keep doing the same stuff that is no longer working.

    For example, there’s already some people worried about the transportation jobs threatened by the rise of self-driving vehicles but there is a simple and obvious solution to that threat. Ban self-driving vehicles. Such a move would be ridiculous in an economy where decent paying jobs for people in the middle to lower income brackets were plentiful, but it that’s not the case anymore than our policy prescriptions need to reflect that reality. If not a ban, at least a prohibition on any currently employed truck driver losing their job to a robot while self-driving trucks may be introduced to fill openings created through attrition or growth.

    Those ideas might be economically self-destructive but they’re an example of the sort of new/old thinking we need if we’re now facing a indefinite future of slow growth. We didn’t make it through the 20th century by following the same patterns as the 19th and the assumption that the way we did things the last 50 years is the only way we should ever do them is nuts.


  19. MBunge says:


    It’s our existing political establishment that has refused to hold the GOP accountable for their intransigence. Democrats, for example, had the Presidency and enough seats in the U.S. Senate to literally shut down the government until the GOP agreed to hearings on Obama’s Supreme Court nominee. They chose not to do that. The media could have refused to let the GOP discuss any other issue until they allowed those hearings. They chose not to do that. And yes, taking those actions may have been painful for Democrats and the media, but you don’t get to claim the mantle of responsibility unless you are willing to accept the burden as well. To put it plainly, Mitch McConnell has been actually damaging this country for years without getting 1/10th the criticism directed at Trump for damage he might cause in the future.

    And again, there was absolutely nothing stopping Barack Obama from spending at least the last two years fiercely campaigning against Republican intransigence and blaming them for why serious problems facing America can’t be fixed. But he didn’t do that and the reasons for that are the same reasons why this stuff isn’t just the fault of right wing whack jobs.


  20. Gustopher says:

    @Jen: Good anecdotal explanation, thanks.

    But, it shows that the labor participation number isn’t useful on its own — it cannot capture the difference between our anecdotal data points. Further skewing things might be one of the benefits of Obamacare, the exchanges that make it easier for people to get health insurance not tied to work. And baby boomers beginning to age out of the work force.

    The engineer in me wants to begin digging into the data and start building a metric that is more useful. The competent person in me knows that I lack the knowledge to ask the right questions.

  21. C. Clavin says:

    75 straight months of private sector job growth. An average of 211,000 jobs a month in Obama’s second term (after inheriting the Bush Contraction in his first)
    Remember that zero private sector jobs were created under Bush 43.
    Remember, too, that these admittedly tepid numbers were achieved while shrinking Government…there are fewer Government employees per capita than at any time since before Reagan. (And that includes Reagan, who, of course, exploded the size of Government.)
    I promise you that Trump will not match Obama’s numbers. He may very well boost numbers with Keynesian spending…but when you factor that out…he will be a yyyuuuuuggge loser. And the debt will explode along the way. All things that Republicans do not care about now that Russian hackers gave them the White House.
    We have seen over and over again that cut-taxes-and-spend does not work. We are about to see it again.

  22. michael reynolds says:

    Yes, doing the same thing and expecting different results is nuts. But let’s start with the underlying assumption that all able-bodied people should have jobs. The notion that human=worker is not a fixed reality, not the only way to organize the world. Maybe the goal should not be, ‘jobs for everyone,’ but sufficient resources for all, jobs for many if not most, and a tax structure that treats employment as a privilege to be longed for, perhaps, but not a necessity, and not a sign of moral superiority.

    I don’t understand why on earth we would not welcome a more robot-driven economy. I realize that flipping burgers 8 hours a day keeps people busy, but has anyone asked the average McD’s worker if he’d rather have the job or stay at home making perhaps slightly less?

    According to just-released data by Gallup, only 13 percent of employees are “engaged” in their jobs, or emotionally invested in their work and focused on helping their organizations improve.

    The data, which are based on nationally representative polling samples in 2011 and 2012 from more than 140 countries, show that 63 percent are “not engaged”—or simply unmotivated and unlikely to exert extra effort—while the remaining 24 percent are “actively disengaged,” or truly unhappy and unproductive.

    Unemployment rates may also explain the differences in worker satisfaction between regions, which is where the current report gets most interesting. However much U.S. workers complain about their jobs, the United States and Canada actually have the highest engagement rate in the world, with 29 percent of workers reporting they are invested in their work. Australia and New Zealand are a close second, at 24 percent.

    If X dollars of GDP are produced with human workers, and the same X dollars of GDP can be produced by machines and fewer humans, what exactly is the problem with that? At that point it’s a question of distribution, not wealth creation.

  23. Pch101 says:


    The labor force participation rate tells us who is and isn’t part of the workforce. The BLS provides copious amounts of details about those who aren’t participating and why they aren’t.

    The unemployment rate tells us about who don’t have jobs but want them, plus those who would like to work more.

    The labor force participation rate is fine. The problem arises when it is abused by politically motivated idiots who are desperately trying to find an unemployment problem where it doesn’t exist.

    Some of you are being led astray by right-wing bulls**t. There are six unemployment rates to describe those who aren’t working but who wish they were. The BLS hires plenty of people to figure this stuff out and to report on it — the data is readily available to those who are interested.

    Labor force participation measures something else that also needs to be measured. Labor force participation is not a measure of unemployment nor should it be; we measure unemployment separately for a reason.

  24. Hal_10000 says:

    Here’s a prediction to check in 2020:

    Over Obama’s eight years, we had about 15 million jobs created and unemployment is currently at 4.7% (U-6 is higher, as noted)

    Trump’s next four years will probably be worse than that. Maybe by a little, maybe by a lot. Even if he were to enact a bunch of awesome policies (which I doubt), we’re kind of due for a downturn and those policies wouldn’t pay off for a few years, at best.

    No matter, what, however, Trump will run for re-election saying he created way more jobs than Obama did. Even if unemployment is 10%. THIS is what I have come to dislike most about the man: his cold-blooded murder of truth.

  25. Mikey says:


    THIS is what I have come to dislike most about the man: his cold-blooded murder of truth.

    I’d put it a little differently, by adding a couple words: “his cold-blooded murder of the concept of truth.”

    This is his objective. If there’s no truth or falsehood or real or fake, then everything is just what he says it is, every word means just what he says it does, everything happened as he says it did and everything will happen just as he says it will.

    It’s the ultimate Trump world: he can never be wrong.

  26. Rick Zhang says:

    I think it’s misguided to say there is an optimal participation rate. After all, every country has a different mix of old to young, disabled to able, retired (by choice or otherwise) vs employed. If I retire in a few years after diligent saving, I count as a nonparticipant in the economy, even though I may be freelance and self-employed doing random things. Does that count as a win for the system or a strike against it?

  27. wr says:

    @MBunge: “The media could have refused to let the GOP discuss any other issue until they allowed those hearings. They chose not to do that.”

    It’s the job of the media to wage political fights in favor of outcomes you desire? That’s pretty cool — how did you arrange that?

  28. Guarneri says:


    You really should be more honest. The dismissiveness comes from liberals claims of an economic miracle when all the stats are measured from a trough, in which anyone could have simply twiddled their thumbs and enjoyed a rebound, and, secondly, the notion that the low unemployment rate isn’t due almost entirely due to lower labor force participation. In fact, lack of participatioN is at record levels. And I didn’t even mention partbtimets.

    As for wages, Doug failed to add any context to the standard regurgitation. The wage rate increase, if one parses the bottom 80% percent of wage earners from the top 20% is flat I believe for three years now. All the upward trends are in the top 20%. Worse, although hourly wages were up, hours worked were down. Hence, take home pay has been dead flat for 5 years.

    This is why the dismissiveness, it’s a data presentation illusion you guys cite. And it’s why Trump just won an election, not Comey or the Russians. People know you are talk’n jive. And they voted no more jive.

  29. Gustopher says:


    Worse, although hourly wages were up, hours worked were down. Hence, take home pay has been dead flat for 5 years.

    Who is that worse for? I would love to work fewer hours for the same money.

    Alas, if you read what Doug Mataconis wrote, you would discover: “Beyond the jobs numbers, the report shows a solid increase in both average hourly wages and the average work week.” The paradise of fewer hours for the same pay is not coming to pass.

  30. al-Ameda says:


    You really should be more honest. The dismissiveness comes from liberals claims of an economic miracle

    I was honest. I engaged no hyperbole, I never claimed there was a miracle, I pointed instead to steady modest economic growth.

  31. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @al-Ameda: Well, now it will be, sure. While that foreign guy was in office, different story altogether.

  32. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds:

    At that point it’s a question of distribution, not wealth creation.

    Wherein lies the rub: “Why should we give any of this money to those lazy people who aren’t working and didn’t do anything to improve their lot by going to school and moving to where they could earn their money instead of expecting us to share ours with them?”

    Remember that “Joe the Plumber” couldn’t accept taking on a business that would pay him 300% of what he was earning because the 5% tax hit was going to “ruin” him.

  33. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Gustopher: Yeah, so would I, but the people who have been getting this “privilege” are the mostly ones in the bottom quartile of the wage/income ranges. Doesn’t work as well for them as it does for you or me.

  34. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:
    As always the devil is in the details.

  35. dxq says:

    The context for the snark was that nearly every periodic jobs report posted here has been headlined as weak or disappointing.

    Doug feeling compelled to jam something, anything, negative into the jobs headline every single month has been a running joke since the spring.

  36. Tyrell says:

    @MBunge: I agree that an infrastructure plan is needed: upgrade and rebuild the aged electrical grid, modernize the interstate highway system, and improve water systems.
    I have seen too many retail stores close down in the last few years. Once popular stores are closing or declining. Who would have ever thought that the mighty Sears would be on the ropes ! In our area the textile and furniture industries have been in total decline because of the trade deals. People around here are still waiting for textiles to return to what they were: lots of mills running 24/7, job openings galore. The job market is fine if you are looking for employment selliing vacuum cleaners door to door or as a school crossing guard. The new income is working two jobs to make what the old job paid. And has anyone else noticed that the benefits “package” of the past is now gone ?
    No, a lot of areas and communities still have not recovered.

  37. Guarneri says:

    I suppose one could take the position that JPMorgan is cooking the data……….if one was that desperate to defend Obamas record. It’s just data, people. Just the facts. No spin. And this BS about Obamas great reicovery just won’t hunt, to paraphrase a deplorable.

  38. al-Ameda says:


    lol … a slow steady recovery from one of the worst financial collapses the past 100 years, is considered by ‘zero hedge’ to be the worst recovery ever. That practically constitutes a ringing endorsement.

    Can we keep it real? If say, a President McCain had presided over this level of economic performance following a crash bequeathed to him by a President Al Gore, ‘zerohedge’ would be producing opinion pieces and charts that show, given the loss of $18 trillion in wealth, crash of the housing and equities markets, job losses in the millions, this recovery, though steady and modest, by recent standards, is solid.

  39. Pch101 says:


    If Obama had taken the radical steps that would have been needed to create a stronger and faster recovery, then he would have been denounced by the right for being a communist.

  40. michael reynolds says:


    Obama outperformed the promises your erstwhile candidate Mitt Romney made during his campaign. Romney promised 6% unemployment, we have 4.7.

    As usual, Drew, you are devoid of intellectual integrity and thus irrelevant to the conversation.

  41. Mikey says:

    @Guarneri: Bwahahahahahaha! You said “no spin” and then linked to Zerohedge! Hilarious!

  42. gVOR08 says:

    @Tyrell: Where I live, a few stores still go out of business, but way more have crowded parking lots and help wanted signs.

    Who would have ever thought that the mighty Sears would be on the ropes!

    When they hired a Randian as CEO I thought it.

  43. Rick Zhang says:

    @michael reynolds:

    It is known that Russia has a very detailed trolling and PR campaign to sabotage democracy and spread doubt and lies in the media.

    I highly suspect that certain posters on here are paid by the Russians. In fact, in the comments section of WSJ, NYT, WaPo and other prestigious papers and blogs there is usually one or two commentators who seem to have nothing better to do all day than to spread misinformation and doubt. I think there is a centralized group assigning sites and papers to “troll” to certain individuals.

  44. Matt says:

    @Rick Zhang: There have been articles about the operations being run. It’s quite impressive overall.

    What’s less known is what if anything the USA is doing to counter those operations.