White House economic adviser Austan Goolsbee on Friday cautioned against overreading a dismal June unemployment report showing just 18,000 jobs added. Don’t “read too much into any one monthly jobs report,” he said.
Goolsbee said the same thing after a disappointing jobs report last month. “One month is not a trend.”
But one month before that, after three consecutive months of decent job growth, Goolsbee said: “It’s clearly a trend.”
So three months of moderately good news is a trend, but two months of unqualified bad news is not. Should make for an interesting early-August Friday.
I don’t mean to pick on Goolsbee. It’s not easy to spin these numbers. In January 2009, the White House projected that the unemployment rate would remain below 8 percent if Congress passed a stimulus package that included spending above $775 billion. That package was $787 billion when it passed and, with interest and added costs, is now projected to have cost nearly $1 trillion. It didn’t work.
This is what failed economic policy looks like.