Well, the September jobs report is in, and it is at least marginally better than anticipated:114,000 new jobs and an unemployment rate of 7.8 percent, the lowest since 2009. There are some fairly large, neon caveats attached to this: The number does not include people who have stopped hunting for jobs; of the new jobs created, a hefty percentage are part time; and many part-time jobs are “involuntary part-time,” people who found their hours reduced. The U6, which Wonkblog calls “the broadest measure of labor-market pain” remains unmoved, because many people who have part-time jobs actually want full-time jobs.
But still, it sounds like good news, so the spin cycle is beginning.
“Today’s disappointing unemployment report is not what a real recovery looks like. We can’t afford another four years like the last,” Mitt Romney tweeted. He was clearly that dad who considered B’s disappointing, even when you had been coming home with lots of C’s and D’s.
“The reason the unemployment has come down is because President Obama threatened unemployment’s family,” Mitt Romney suggests.
“The reason unemployment appears to have dropped is that you are not taking into account the large numbers of people who are freeloading and entitled.”
“The reason unemployment looks like it’s decreased in size is because unemployment is wearing a slimming black ensemble.”
“Unemployment isn’t down. Unemployment numbers are down, but unemployment is still exactly as bad as it was if you take those numbers away.”
Charts are being brandished. People are speaking dubiously of sinister influences. Big Bird is cackling and saying little. Here is a possible explanation of those charts you are always seeing, with numbers like U3 and U2 and U1 floating around on them, not quite to scale.