July Jobs Report Shows Solid Jobs Growth Continuing

The July Jobs Report was largely a continuation of the good news from June, but the question is how long that can last.

Now Hiring Sign

After the June Jobs Report showed the employment market bouncing back after lackluster reports in April and May, the question hanging over the economy was what the July report might indicate. An early report from payroll processor ADP, along with consensus economic forecasts, seemed to indicate that we should expect an unimpressive middle of the road report that indicated neither a strong market for jobs nor continued weakening. Instead, the morning brought the pleasant surprise of another strong month, which has implications for both Federal Reserve policy going forward and the election:

Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.9 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Employment in mining continued to trend down.

The unemployment rate held at 4.9 percent in July, and the number of unemployed persons was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million. Both measures have shown little movement, on
net, since August of last year. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, unemployment rates in July were little changed for adult men (4.6 percent), adult women (4.3 percent), teenagers (15.6 percent), Whites, (4.3
percent), Blacks (8.4 percent), Asians (3.8 percent), and Hispanics (5.4 percent). (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

In July, the number of persons unemployed less than 5 weeks decreased by 258,000. At 2.0 million, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more)
was about unchanged over the month and accounted for 26.6 percent of the unemployed. (See table A-12.)

Both the labor force participation rate, at 62.8 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 59.7 percent, changed little in July. (See table A-1.) The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed at 5.9 million in July. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)


Total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 255,000 in July. Job gains occurred in professional and business services, health care, and financial activities. Mining employment continued to trend down. (See table B-1.)

Professional and business services added 70,000 jobs in July and has added 550,000 jobs over the past 12 months. Within the industry, employment rose by 37,000 in professional and technical services in July, led by computer systems design and related services (+8,000) and architectural and engineering services (+7,000). Employment in management and technical consulting services continued to trend up (+6,000).

In July, health care employment increased by 43,000, with gains in ambulatory health care services (+19,000), hospitals (+17,000), and nursing and residential care facilities (+7,000). Over the past 12 months, health care has added 477,000 jobs.

Employment in financial activities rose by 18,000 in July and has risen by 162,000 over the year.

Employment in leisure and hospitality continued to trend up in July (+45,000). Employment in food services and drinking places changed little in July (+21,000); this industry has
added an average of 18,000 jobs per month thus far this year, compared with an average monthly gain of 30,000 in 2015.

Government employment edged up in July (+38,000).

Employment in mining continued to trend down over the month (-6,000). Since reaching a peak in September 2014, employment in this industry has fallen by 220,000, or 26 percent.

Employment in other major industries, including construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, retail trade, and information, showed little or no change over the month.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported upward revisions to May’s abysmal numbers from +11,000 to +24,000 while June’s numbers were revised upward from +287,000 to +292,000, for a total net revision of +18,000 over those two months Over the past three months, job gains have averaged just over 190,000 per month, a slight improvement over the trend last month. Since the start of the year, the economy has created some 1,302,000 new jobs for an average of 186,000 jobs per month for the past seven months. Looking deeper into the report, there were no significant changes in the long-term unemployment or labor force participation rates, and the fact that the top-line unemployment figure remained unchanged suggests that there remains significant slack in the labor force in the form of more people looking for work than there are jobs available. On the brighter side, there were small upticks in average hourly wages and hours worked, but it’s not a major change for either figure. Nonetheless, based solely on the job creation numbers, this is a solid report that most importantly comes on the heels of an equally solid report last month. It’s not entirely ideal, of course. That would require numbers above 300,000 new jobs and more on a sustained basis in order to make up for the fact that the jobs recovery from the Great Recession has been mediocre to put it mildly. Nonetheless, a quarter million new jobs is nothing to turn up one’s nose at, and if we are headed into a sustained period of job creation like this that would be a good thing.

The reality, of course, is that we’ve got precisely zero reason to believe that this two month trend can or will be sustained. There have been several points over the past seven years where we’ve gone one, two, or even three months of strong jobs reports only to see the employment market fall back into a far less robust period for a sustained period of time. In part, this appears to be because employers are discovering ways to increase productivity at their current levels of employment, which means that they don’t need to bring on new workers to meet increased demand. Additionally, there appears to be a reluctance on the part of business owners to expend resources on business expansion, which isn’t entirely unsurprising given the relative weakness of the recovery and the level of uncertainly that see-sawing economic reports over the course of seven years can create. Absent belief that the demand will be there, businesses are not going to expand and, absent that expansion there’s not going to be an explosion in new hiring any time soon.

Notwithstanding the caveats, The New York Times is quite giddy about today’s report, while also looking ahead at the possible impact of the news on both Federal Reserve policy and the election:

The American economy roared ahead last month, as employers added 255,000 jobs, a bigger-than-expected gain that suggests the country’s growth rate may be more robust than thought just two months ago.

The Labor Department report for July had been eagerly anticipated on Wall Street, in Washington and on the campaign trail after conflicting signals in recent months about the economy’s trajectory.

Hiring in May was much weaker than what economists had expected, while a big rebound in June similarly caught the experts off-guard. July’s data suggests an economy that is gaining momentum after a spring slowdown.

“This will be a validator,” said Michael Gapen, chief United States economist at Barclays, in an interview before the release of the data. “Another solid gain in July would suggest that May’s numbers were an aberration.”

The unemployment rate was flat at 4.9 percent. Economists had been expecting a gain of about 180,000 jobs, with a fall in the unemployment rate to 4.8 percent.

June’s gain was revised upward by 5,000 jobs, and May by 13,000. The combination of better gains in the spring and July’s jump in hiring suggest that the Federal Reserve may take a fresh look at raising interest rates when it meets in September.

The Fed said in July, after the most recent meeting of its policy-making committee, that the economy was growing more strongly and there were fewer clouds on the horizon, suggesting it was giving greater consideration to rate increases later this year.

The strength of job growth in July is likely to reinforce that assessment. But it still may not be sufficient for the Fed to raise rates in September.

The July jobs data is certain to reverberate not only for policy makers at the Fed, but also for Hillary Clinton and Donald J. Trump as November’s presidential election draws closer.

Tepid data released last week for second-quarter growth offered an opening for Republicans to question Democratic arguments that the recovery was delivering meaningful gains for most Americans.

Although the Labor Department will release three more months’ worth of monthly hiring data before voters go to the polls on Nov. 8, the buoyant picture presented for July comes at a moment in the campaign when polls are in flux.

Indeed, there was ammunition for both candidates in Friday’s report.

The labor force participation rate ticked up by 0.1 percentage point, compared with 62.7 percent in June.

Although that is an improvement from late last year, the proportion of Americans who are working remains close to lows last seen in the late 1970s. That only underscores how many workers remain on the economic sidelines as the recovery enters its eighth year.

On the other hand, wages are showing signs of life, with average hourly earnings rising 0.3 percent in July, bringing the 12-month gain to 2.6 percent. As the unemployment rate has fallen, some employers have been forced to raise salaries to retain their best workers and attract new ones.

As I’ve said before, Republicans and Democrats will make of this report whatever they can to help their arguments regarding the state of the economy. In the end, though, what will decide that particular debate in the minds of most voters isn’t going to be the latest unemployment or Gross Domestic Product report, but how they perceive their own economic condition and futures. If they’re optimistic, then this is likely to help incumbent candidates and the incumbent party in the Presidential election. If they are more negative, and there are certainly reasons for many people at various levels of the economy to be pessimistic, it’s likely to inure to the benefit of opposition candidates. How that plays out over the next three months is anyone’s guess.

FILED UNDER: 2016 Election, 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-Alameda says:

    As I’ve said before, Republicans and Democrats will make of this report whatever they can to help their arguments regarding the state of the economy.

    True enough, but since mid 2009, these type of statistics – slow steady growth as we move away form the 2008-09 crash, have been the norm. Perhaps not enough growth as many prefer, but steady and non-recessionary, with low inflation and low unemployment.

  2. Guarneri says:

    “As I’ve said before, Republicans and Democrats will make of this report whatever they can to help their arguments regarding the state of the economy.”

    Not necessarily. There is something called objective analysis, and looking beyond the simplistic headline message.

    The report continues the trend of very narrow job growth dominated by healthcare and the hospitality industry, the latter being particularly low wage. Industrial and broader commercial is in the tank, and has been for a while. See the graphics linked. Of special note is the employment to population ratio. A longer term graphic of the ratio is floating around and I will find and link if I can. Basically, this recovery is as robust as the depths of the 1982 recession, and it’s recent year history is flat. The graphic is for prime working age people 25-48, so please folks, spare me the retiring baby boomers canard. They are hanging on to jobs for dear life.


    More sinister is the seasonal adjustment, without which the report would have come in at about 80,000 jobs. You look at the graphic and tell me “which one is not like the other.”


    Skip the editorial writing in the links. Just look at the data. Just the facts, mam.

  3. steve s says:

    oh great source, zerohedge.

    Trivia question for everyone: 4 mos ago, when Colin Lokey said “I can’t be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It’s wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run. This isn’t a revolution. It’s a joke.” which site was he referring to?

  4. Neil Hudelson says:

    Please spring me from the Spam trap if you could. I know, it was the links.

  5. Guarneri says:

    @steve s:

    Do you dispute the data? If so, how? I assume that because you cannot dispute the data, and therefore the story they tell, you have been reduced to a partisan shill pathetically attempting to invalidate the messenger.

    The only one you fool is yourself and the rest of the partisan scamps here.

    Oh, and in the spirit of intellectual honesty, something you and the rest of the shills here have no experience with, you should know this isn’t just a Dem Republican thing. There are deep demographic trends at work here that should be taken into account in the policy prescriptions of either party. But I doubt that interests you. So back to slobbering all over Obama and Hillary you go.

  6. stonetools says:

    Heh, Doug did his best to make a great job report look bad.He couldn’t use his usual template, because the figures are so good, so he did his best. “THIS jobs report is great , but the NEXT job report will suck.”
    Face to, Doug. This great job report came on top of 70 months of uninterrupted job growth. Inflation , which the Zero hedge guys have been predicting ever since 2010, is non-existent. Oil prices are low, wage growth is picking up, and the US economy has shrugged off the impact of Brexit. And the data shows that most of the employment increase has been in full time jobs.Thanks, Obama!

    And that’s the nub of why Doug can’t celebrate the good news. It’s Obama Administration that kick started this recovery with a Keynesian stimulus that was too small, but was enough to get a wrecked economy moving again. It was Obama who made the decision to save the auto industry, when Romney wanted it to collapse. Obama did make mistakes, but on the whole, he was right, and the folks that Doug follows-the Austrians economist types at Reason.org and Zero Hedge-were wrong-again!

    All this is more bad news for Trump and the Republicans. It’s hard to paint the USA as a Hunger Games type dystopia when we are at (relative) peace, prices are low, and employment is growing. But the conservatives are going to try.

  7. JohnMcC says:

    If a comparison is made to any of the world’s other great economies — China, Russia, the Euro zone, Japan — we begin to get a sense of the accomplishment of this Administration. In the NYT article quoted above the Times says that the Fed is likely to consider raising interest rates. Virtually every other central bank is offering or considering negative rates.

    Thanks, Obama!

  8. michael reynolds says:


    Unemployment rates:

    Australia: 5.8
    Austria: 9.1
    Belgium: 8.5
    Canada: 6.9
    Denmark: 5.8
    France: 10.3
    Germany: 4.5
    Italy: 11.4
    Netherlands: 6.4
    Norway: 4.6
    Portugal: 12.4
    Russia: 6.0
    Spain: 19.7
    Sweden: 7.7
    Switzerland: 3.6
    UK: 4.9

    US: 4.9

    So, in light of those numbers – cause I know you love ‘facts’, just like the pathological liar, fraud, multiple bankrupt, rip-off artist and big orange bucket of crazy you support – explain how we are uniquely bad off. We’re .4 behind Germany, usually held up as the exemplar we should strive to be.

    By any objective standard we are outperforming the developed world. Right? Objectively? Factually? In reality?

    (Oh, and the unemployment rate in SEATAC where they jacked minimum wage up to 15 bucks an hour? 4.6%. Essentially identical to Germany.)

    (Oh, and remember GM, “Government Motors” that you confidently predicted would crash and burn in a matter of months after it was supported by the USG? Record $6.3 billion profit in 2015.)

    Question: Are you ever right about anything, World’s Greatest Businessman?

  9. michael reynolds says:


    Oh, and now, please lay out for us the economic plans of your mentally unbalanced presidential candidate in detail. You know, all the things he’s gonna do to make it all so much better:


    Go for it.

    (Pro tip: doesn’t count if he’s contradicted himself.)

  10. Ben Wolf says:

    If you’ve been listening to opinions like Doug’s you’ve passed up on major profits. So long as government spending continues to expand at its current rate we will see strength in job creation. The only forseeable problem is the Fed’s rudderless and confused policy trajectory; Yellen’s leadership has been less than I’d hoped and responsible for much of our current national and global capital market volatility.

  11. Tyrell says:

    While there are some good things in this, there is a trend of an increase in part time jobs and people linking up two or more pt
    jobs, with no benefits.
    I know I harp on this a lot, but this area lost a lot of industry over the years due to the trade deals including NAFTA. Huge factory buildings around here that once ran 24/7 producing textiles, furniture, and machine parts have been standing empty for years, some of which are over a 100 years old. This started long before the Obama administration came along, so it is not his fault. Our leaders need to work to get a lot of these industries back.
    A lot of the job opportunities are service type – shoe sales, school bus drivers, and the ice cream truck: low pay and no benefits; there goes your health benefits.
    I am not trying to rain on the parade here.
    “Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more” (Paycheck)

  12. michael reynolds says:


    At the time NAFTA passed, virtually every economist thought it was a great idea. It passed the House with 102 Democrats and 132 Republicans. In the Senate it got 27 Dems and 34 Republicans.

    You know who opposed it? Unions. But of course by then unions had been weakened by Ronald Reagan and the GOP down at the state level. Were you a union man? Did you fight for closed shops and collective bargaining?

    How much more are you willing to pay for your TV, your phone, your clothing etc…, in order to keep out low-cost foreign products? Will you pay 1200 for a TV that costs you 800 today? Will you pay twice as much for your shirts?

    I agree that good jobs have disappeared, but the simple reality is that there is no easy fix. In fact, there may not be a fix at all. If Trump raises tariffs that means prices go up. It also means exports go down. And the quality of products declines with less competition.

    Time does not move backward, it only goes forward. The 1950’s are not coming back. So what do you think we should do? You want to pay a lot more for stuff? You want us to lose the export jobs we have? What’s your solution?

  13. Bob@Youngstown says:

    Polls tell us that 66% believe that the US is headed in the wrong direction.

    I don’t know how to translate to anything other than 66% want to increase unemployment, 66% want to slow the GDP, etc.

    I just don’t get it.

  14. Thor thormussen says:

    July Jobs Report Shows Solid Jobs Growth Continuing
    The July Jobs Report was largely a continuation of the good news from June, but the question is how long that can last.

    If you wonder if Doug’s biased, just look at how he writes jobs headlines. If it’s bad news, he says it’s bad news, if it’s good news, he says it’s kinda maybe good news but (something bad). Relentlessly. It was annoying at first, but now it’s almost comical. Like does he even know he does it? It’s so obvious to everyone else.

  15. anjin-san says:

    @michael reynolds:

    SEATAC where they jacked minimum wage up to 15 bucks an hour

    Yea, I’m still waiting for the collapse of the restaurant business that conservatives gleefully predicted when Seattle raised wages…

  16. anjin-san says:


    66% believe that the US is headed in the wrong direction

    I think it’s pretty simple. Every day we are one day further from the mid-twentieth century, a unique confluence of American power, personal freedom, and a thriving middle class. So in a very real sense, we are headed in the wrong direction. History is resuming it’s normal course – a small group of people own and control pretty much everything.

  17. Tyrell says:

    @michael reynolds: Thanks for your reply and thoughtful answers. With the loss of textiles and other industries came the loss of a type of culture, and way of life.The mill villages are gone.
    The industries around here were mainly non-union.
    I think back to the big three: GM, Ford, Chrysler. Oldsmobile and Pontiac are gone, Chrysler is in with Fiat, and the giant River Rouge plant of Ford is all but gone. And look at Detroit – used to be one of the wealthiest cities. Look at the abandoned steel mills of Pennsylvania. And think of Eastern Airlines. All too big to fail ?
    People here are paying $40 + for brand name sweatshirts made overseas. Certainly they could make those here for less with the use of high tech.
    Maybe I am looking at the past too much.
    GM-“Mark of Excellence ”
    Pontiac – “We Build Excitement ”
    Eastern – “The Wings of Man”
    Buy American

  18. Thor thormussen says:

    I’m still waiting for the collapse of the restaurant business that conservatives gleefully predicted when Seattle raised wages…

    Well gay marriage has been legal a year and traditional marriages are still fine…Obama’s been pres for 8 years and the stock market’s doubled. Republicans warned for years of hyperinflation.

    At this point it’ll be news when republicans are ever right about anything again. At the moment, the Sean Hannity Tard Wing is in control.

  19. Thor thormussen says:

    Honestly i think the only reason to vote republican is that you just listen to people around you and don’t know how to find or interpret the set of data you’d need to understand basic issues. Or you’re rich and you just want to keep taking more and more from society.

    Like the Walton Dynasty, which now warns shareholders that their customers come from the same underclass as their employees, so growth will be slow in the future because that class has little money left to spend. It’s already gone to the top.

    Now the middle class is hollowing out, and more dumb republican voters will be confused as they meet the same fate. And probably most of the people reading this who are americans–Unless you’re in the top quintile or so, your kids will be poorer than you.

  20. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: The immediate problem is a sustained lack of global demand. The long-term problem is a government which continues attempting to hold together the market state with band-aids and hope. In a world of abundance poverty is always a policy choice; extreme wealth and income inequality are created by policies and not naturally occurring.

  21. Bob@Youngstown says:

    @anjin-san: So your interpretation is that the 66% are wanting to return to the post-World War II years of party-line rotary phones, air pollution, barely existant air travel, strong unions, people actually read books and wrote letters, a choice of 3 TV stations, hiding under desks during A-bomb drills, polio, segregation, …..and on and on.

    I’m not disagreeing with you at all, but I think that it (the poll) illustrates that 66% are living in the past, and don’t recognize that those wonderful years (when they were children) are gone and will not be on any “track”.

  22. anjin-san says:


    years of party-line rotary phones, air pollution, barely existant air travel, strong unions, people actually read books and wrote letters, a choice of 3 TV stations, hiding under desks during A-bomb drills, polio, segregation

    People tend to view the past through a lens of emotion, not reason. I loved 1971 (and the surrounding years) – and why not? I was young, I lived more or less at the end of the rainbow (Marin County), and we were very well off. In the world beyond the end of my nose, we had Viet Nam, Nixon, and all kinds of terrible crap going on. My brain knows that, but it is not doing the driving when I daydream about the golden past…

  23. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:
    Policy undoubtedly plays a part, a major part in some countries. But the underlying problem is a move from the physical to the intellectual as a way of earning money. Bluntly, smart people are doing well, less smart people less well. We don’t have the ability to make people smarter, and in any case there’s no reason to think there’d be jobs for them. So obviously we’re going to need a greater degree of income redistribution, unless we’re going to go all Jonathan Swift and eat the children of the poor..

    But you know that with more redistribution comes pushback from the successful. I don’t want to go all fiction writer here, but that pushback is going to create a stratification of a different sort, an extra layer of pseudo-class differences, embodied for me by the great, black-windowed Google buses driving south from San Francisco every day, ferrying the new elite. That’s part of what Trump voters are reacting to. They thought they were being sorted one way – by race, nationality, religion – but life is sorting them a whole different way, by education and by IQ.

    Policy may soften the edges, may help keep body and soul together for people, but they’ll still be aware of a relative loss of status. People are extraordinarily keen at discerning status.

    When you compound this sorting by IQ and the decline of physical workers with a loss of specific, defining function by gender, you get a bunch of enraged white males waking up to the fact that someone has changed the rules of the game they thought they were playing. It’s potentially volatile. I don’t honestly know what the hell to do about it, but I don’t like it. We’re going Eloi and Morlock here except the Morlocks don’t have jobs. You can try to walk globalization back a bit, but that’s just kicking the can down the road.

    We need a new paradigm. We’ve got a whole country full of people who’ve been programmed to believe in upward mobility, in consumption, in generational progress, all measured in terms of dollars. We don’t really have another value system, all things American come down to dollars. No one brags about how much time they have off, or how long they were on vacation.

    I don’t know. Something profound is going on and obviously I don’t have my hands around it. I don’t know if it’s a bad moon a risin’, or whether there’s some perfectly swell new system already emerging.

  24. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: The state is at the center of the problem because it’s ultimately at the center of our economy. Its heavy subsidy of health, tech, applied sciences, law, etc. create demand and drive wages in those sectors upward. Crafting trade deals that don’t negotiate standards for professionals as they do for goods produced by factory workers protects professional jobs from foreign competitions. Undoubtedly, without this we’d still have inequality among workers but not to the current degree.

    The people taking the overwhelming benefits aren’t in these categories. They’re hedge fund managers and CEOs and board directors; and I will tell you they are not smart. They’re good at persuading other people to hand over their money. They aren’t creative and don’t get their incomes from smart investing but from massive fees on the money they manage (which is why they’re desperate to see Social Security privatized.) Massive financial firms making 1% or less pay managers up to a billion dollars annually. Think about that last sentence: Jamie Dimon gets multi-million dollar raises for earnings of 1-2% and that’s after market rigging and illegal activity. That’s less than a hundredth of what a good trader can generate.

    We can fix these things and we can create opportunity for those at the bottom to climb out. Not all but probably most and not in the current system. Capitalism as we’ve known it is on its last legs.

  25. al-Ameda says:


    Basically, this recovery is as robust as the depths of the 1982 recession, and it’s recent year history is flat. The graphic is for prime working age people 25-48, so please folks, spare me the retiring baby boomers canard. They are hanging on to jobs for dear life.

    This 2008-09 ‘Great Recession’ was far more catastrophic and deeper than the 1982 recession, so this recovery is then quite good when put into that context.

    None of the difficulties that people of any age face in this labor market owe to President Obama ‘s policies and actions at all. The fact is, this is an economy that has been in transition from our father’s manufacturing based economy to a new and different services, research, and digitally based economy.

    I am a ‘mid-term’ boomer, and following the 2008 crash, I was out of work for a few months months – I did not sit back and blame president George W Bush for the crash or Barack Obama. Instead, I picked up financial management piecework here and there while I searched for a new career opportunity specifically in the healthcare and health policy sector. Why there? Because as we know now quite clearly that is where there were and are opportunities. It’s worked out well for me in the subsequent seven-plus years.

    I’m not complacent either – because I’m on soft-money grants and contracts, so I am now researching new opportunities in the healthcare and sponsored research areas. It’s not easy being an older ’employee’ in this market, but you have to be agile and show potential employers that you’re still relevant, that you can add value to an organization.

    The San Francisco Bay Area employment market is very strong right now, and extremely competitive. You can sit back and blame Barack Obama for everything, or you can roll up your sleeves and compete – and that’s always the way it’s been if you’re pursuing career opportunities.

  26. Tyrell says:

    @Ben Wolf: What system will be replacing capitalism ? What about the middle class – the hard working people who pay for the federal government’s programs ?
    We have seen the sorry record and results of socialism.

  27. Ben Wolf says:

    @Tyrell: The cooperative model is the future of instituting means of production. Corporations are slow, centralized and bureaucratized twentieth century relics living well past their expiration date.

  28. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    The problem with blaming policy is that, as the NYT (think it’s NYT) shows in a piece today, slow growth appears to be a phenomenon affecting every developed economy. It’s hard for me to believe that all these countries followed a single policy and reached the same end. If they followed different paths and all ended up in the same place, it seems likely that the problem is not simply a matter of governmental policy.

    Every other country spends far less than we do on health care. Are their economies better off? No. They may have slightly less income inequality, but better off overall? I don’t see it. No one else has our concentration of financial industry with the possible exception of the UK, and yet: no better off. If the problem is policies favoring health care and financial firms, and other countries do not mirror those policies, then why are they on the same 15 year-long slow trip to nowhere?

  29. JohnMcC says:


    Boy the way Glenn Miller played
    Songs that made the hit parade
    Guys like us we had it made
    Those were the days.

    And you knew who you were then
    Girls were girls and men were men
    Mister we could use a man
    Like Herbert Hoover again

    Didn’t need no welfare state
    Everybody pulled his weight
    Gee our old LaSalle ran great

  30. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: I’m reading a book by the Reformocon Yuval Levin called ‘Fractured Republic’ that addresses exactly these issues from a fairly non-doctrinaire perspective. You oughta read it.

  31. JohnMcC says:

    @Tyrell: Darn it! I meant to add to the above that there are infinite variations on a theme of capitalism and of socialism. We know that some socialism works (I love me some SocialSecurity and Medicare!) and others don’t. We know that some capitalism is horrible (I grew up in AL in the late 40s to mid 50s). Don’t let people with agendas blind you with simple labels and slogans.

  32. Tyrell says:

    @Bob@Youngstown: I don’t know about all that, but I do know I find myself spending a lot of time wistfully thinking about the days of leadership under Kennedy, Johnson, Humphrey, Fulbright, Dirksen, Rusk, Hollings Connally, Ford, and Carter. Statesmen !

  33. Matt says:

    @michael reynolds: Prices wouldn’t increase anywhere near that amount. For example if the iphone was made here in the USA the price would increase only by 30-40 dollars (on a phone that costs $400 without contract). That’s a 10% increase in price on the high end. Most of the price increase is from transportation and logistics cost increases. Labor cost would only be roughly 10-15 dollars more. Apple has admitted as much in the past that labor costs isn’t the biggest motivator for using oversees workers. It’s more about the slave like conditions that they can impose on the workers. Forcing tens of thousands of people into work with 10 minutes of notice to make a last minute change in the design for example. Hence the random spurts of mass suicides at such facilities.

    This is confirmed by Google building the moto x series of smart phones here in the USA while maintaining a very competitive price.

  34. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Health care costs are lower in other countries because governments spend less and doctors have lower wages. Wages in tech and other professional sectors also pay less because other governments don’t spend as heavily in subsidizing them.

    Global growth is slow due to:

    1) a global lack of public investment over the last three decades.

    2) Income inequity reduces productive spending. Growth = spending = output in an advanced economy.

    3) Central Banks the world over follow a monetarist low-full employment playbook, keeping tens of millions on the dole as a hedge against inflation.

    4) Other countries suppress domestic investment and wages to make their goods more price competitive for export.

    5) Continued global commitment to the fantasy of autonomous, self-equilibrating markets.

    6) Parallel regulation which has shifted national incomes toward profits and away from wages.

    7) Ricardian-equivalence thinking used to justify endless austerity measures.

    8) Poor expectations from businesses which see no reason to invest because their customers have no more money to spend.

    9) Continued deflationary bank policies: low/negative interest rates, QE, asset purchases draining incomes

    North America, Europe, South America and Japan all follow the same guidelines in economic thinking.

  35. Tyrell says:

    My local banker sent me a note with the words that most people dread to hear – “interest rates jump on July economic report”. I am not thinking of a refinance now, but at sometime I will anticipate a move and the last thing this country needs is high interest rates. The only thing worse would be high gas prices ! To me they are too high now.
    Then comes news of big problems in the health care: insurance giant AETNA is set to leave the AHA program, Humana is going to cut way back ! Is BC/BS next ? Rates are set to rise by double digits next year. The government health plan looks close to collapse ! Millions will have to leave, unable to afford the cost increase. Millions more can’t afford the cost, but do not qualify for a subsidy! People have discovered with a shock that their gov. health plan costs more, covers less, and in some cases does not include their doctors !
    So much for all those promises the president made !
    All those young healthy people who were supposed to sign up and finance the thing – staying on their parents plans or are not worried about it. When I was 20, health insurance was far from my concerns.
    Senator Warren: my credit card rates are still too high. What are you doing about that ?

  36. Thor thormussen says:

    What Matt said.

  37. Matt says:

    @Tyrell: THe interest rate jump is your bank’s fault.

    Gas prices are only going to go up as oil is a finite resource and people in other countries are willing to pay more. For a few years the USA’s biggest export was refined petroleum products aka diesel, gasoline, jet fuel etc. That’s why the whole drill here drill now crowd are idiots. We’d just export the results and the prices would stay the same.

    There are no real government health care plans outside of medicare and medicaid. What you’re calling government healthcare are the offerings of the private sector. You know the thing that Republicans claim always does stuff better and cheaper?

    AETNA is making some noise about potentially leaving the exchanges but nothing has been confirmed yet. Which is surprising as the company has seen consistent growth over the last several years and made more money last year than predicted. The talk of leaving the exchange could be pressure to get the department of justice to drop the lawsuits against the merger with Humana.

    If you do not qualify for a subsidy and you cannot get enrolled in the expanded medicare then it’s your republican state government’s fault. Some places like Texas have refused to expand medicare which is screwing the poor. Not a surprise as that seems to be a favorite past time of some of these people.

  38. michael reynolds says:

    @Ben Wolf:

    Ben, I understand that’s your prescription. But you don’t answer my question:

    If health care spending is the single biggest factor holding us back, why is it that countries with far lower health care costs aren’t prospering?

    Medicine has to be shown to be effective. If your medicine were effective we would see examples of countries doing much better than we are. And we don’t see those examples.


  39. Guarneri says:

    Here you go Obama droolers. It’s just numbers. You knew it would only be a matter of time until the numbers were taken apart.


  40. Guarneri says:

    By the way. You all look good in those cheerleading skirts.

  41. al-Alameda says:

    Post that ZH chart as much as you like.
    Again, a good if unspectacular recovery even when compared with the 1982 recession, which was nowhere nearly as severe in magnitude as the 2008-09 catastrophe.
    … But really, as a Zero Hedge member said upon leaving:
    “I can’t be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It’s wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run. This isn’t a revolution. It’s a joke.”[

  42. An Interested Party says:

    By the way. You all look good in those cheerleading skirts.

    Oh look, another supposed tycoon who acts as ridiculous as Donald Trump…what is it with these alleged really rich people who act like white trash…

  43. Ben Wolf says:

    @michael reynolds: Michael, I never claimed health care was the single biggest factor holding us back. I wrote that spending creates income inequality for the professional class by generating demand in some sectors, that inequality is a result of policy choices.

  44. michael reynolds says:


    Thanks! And you look good with your nose up Trump’s rear-end.