Say, just how “fine” is the private sector doing, anyway?

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Erika already noted the reassurance from President Obama on the state of the private sector, which he thinks is “doing fine”:

Well, just how “fine” has the private sector done?  Let’s take a look at the record, and compare it to Obama’s words.  First, the private sector during his term of office has created a net 55,000 since Obama took office. The BLS data from the CES survey from 2009-12 produces this chart:

Note the curve in the graph.  Obama signed the stimulus bill in February 2009, which was supposed to halt job erosion.  The private sector lost jobs for the next twelve months in a row, only flipping to the positive in March 2010.   A better starting position would be the point of recovery, which came four months after the stimulus bill got signed, in June 2009.  Even if one goes from the start of the recovery, though, that only comes to 3.107 million jobs in the private sector, not 4.3 million.

In order to get to 4.3 million, Obama has to ignore his first full year in office.  Only by comparing May 2012 to February 2010 do we get to 4.267 million private-sector jobs being created.  However, that’s not a net gain, certainly not counting from the launch of the $800 billion jobs stimulus plan, nor from the recovery.

Even if we assign the entirety of the recession to George Bush, as Obama argues, job growth in the private sector in this recovery amounts to only 86,300 jobs per month — not even enough to keep up with population growth, which requires roughly 125,000-150,000  new jobs per month to just tread water.  Obama’s spurious claim of 4.267 million jobs in 27 months as being net for his economic policies still amounts to just 158,000 per month, barely the status quo … at the bottom of the trough.

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Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

11 Responses to “Say, just how “fine” is the private sector doing, anyway?”

  1. 1

    Nan G

    Obama’s walkback:
    Obama sought to clarify the remarks later in the day, saying “it is absolutely clear that the economy is not doing fine.”

    The RNC is all over it:
    Within hours of Friday’s news conference, the Republican National Committee released a video attacking Mr. Obama—a video that mimicked the Obama campaign’s own 2008 ad attacking Mr. McCain for saying, then taking it back that “the fundamentals of our economy are strong.”

    Obama’s ”spinners” are spinning it:
    Jared Bernstein, a former Obama adviser, called Mr. Obama’s comment a clear gaffe. “He certainly didn’t help himself.”

  2. 2


    Obama signed the stimulus bill in February 2009, which was supposed to halt job erosion. The private sector lost jobs for the next twelve months in a row, only flipping to the positive in March 2010.

    Would Ed Morrissey care to extend that chart back 12 additional months to include 2008, so we can see the sort of job losses the stimulus plan halted?

    Ed Morrissey is presenting a deceptive argument, backed up with a chart specifically created to sell a lie. The GOP can’t win this November without relying on lies. Fortunately, they seem to have no compunction whatsoever about deliberate deception and lying. They don’t even blink when their caught at it and called on it. They just say the same thing again.

    Witness Romney’s lie about an independent inspector concluding that Solyndra money had been disbursed by the Obama administration to friends and family. No such independent inspector has concluded any such thing. This was thoroughly debunked. But there has been no retraction. In fact, the Romney campaign is still running an ad making the accusation.

  3. 3

    Liberal1 (objectivity)

    The ‘state of the private sector’ (which Obama was referring to)—as opposed to the ‘state of the econ0my’—is not dependent on employment/unemployment. The right-wing seized upon this, changed his wording to ‘the economy is doing fine’, and then began with this false premise that they created (a common ultra-conservative ploy).

  4. 4

    Nan G

    1. Private-sector jobs have increased by an average of just 105,000 over the past three months and by just 89,000 a month during the entire Obama Recovery.

    In 1983 and 1984, during the supply-side Reagan Boom, private sector jobs increased by an average of 292,000 a month. Adjusted for population, that number is like 375,000 private-sector jobs a month today.

    2. If the labor force participation rate for May had just stayed where it was in April, the unemployment rate would have risen to 8.4%. As it is, the U.S. economy is suffering is longest sustained bout of 8% unemployment or higher since the Great Depression.

    Jim Pethokoukis

    Personally, I had to quit watching the news conference by Obama.
    All his UHHHHHs and UMMMMMMs are like fingernails down a chalkboard to me.

    Here’s Obama’s real scariest chart ever:
    Why Team Obama should be worried if it already isn’t.
    President Obama is below the reelection Mendoza line…

  5. 5


    Question for Greg and Liberal1, if what you’re both saying is true, then why did Obama have to go back out and essentially say “What I meant to say was…”? Or did Republicans do such a good job of changing the wording and meaning that Obama got confused?

    I realize this is hard for you both to grasp due to your hyper-partisan attitudes and collectively limited brain power, but face it: Obama made a massive gaffe and embarrassed himself. And if you disagree, shall we dip into the archives of McCain’s “the fundamentals of the economy are strong” and see what you two had to say about that then? Oh, I forgot, liberals only have a problem with hypocrisy if non-liberals do it. I suppose it makes sense when you realize how far left liberals have no standards and therefore can’t hold themselves to any.

  6. 6


    @Greg: You previously said,

    If you reduce those infusions of cash into the public sector, what do you suppose happens to all the jobs that spending supports? You’re not adding only former employees to the unemployment rolls. You’re reducing the standard of living of teachers, firemen, police officers, and other public servants that conservatives seem to dislike.

    Your infusion of cash comes from the people who are actually creating the wealth. The pathetic increases we’ve seen in GDP is mostly the transfer of wealth to hire more govt employees. Fake. That’s not true growth. Growth will occur when those massive infusions stop recurring and the private sector can project past a few months; so how’s the private sector doing, they’re sure as hell not hiring salaried employees.

  7. 7


    I think the wealthiest get too much credit for wealth creation. There’s a difference between genuine creative ability, and simply having a talent for setting up mechanisms for the redirection and accumulation of money. Our system increasingly favors people who have that particular talent.

    People seem to think that the public sector contributes nothing of value. Maybe the public sector should all stop doing whatever it is they do for a week or two, just to demonstrate what happens without them. There’s a reason why it’s not lawful for federal employees to strike, you know. That’s one of the rights people give up when they sign on as a public servant.

  8. 8



    Cheers! Appreciate the opportunity to exchange ideas with you.

    Forgive me but I have to start with the gem of irony you just fumbled: the wealthiest get too much credit for [their] wealth creation.

    Meanwhile my sheep Julia continues to graze..

    Riddle me this. Our system increasingly favors people… You must admit you don’t typically buy anything you really don’t want to buy. So who what how when does the distortion of perceived value manifest?

    Maybe the public sector should all stop doing whatever it is they do for a week or two, just to demonstrate

    Happened. Reagan fired em. 11,000 air traffic controllers.

    Greg – The model only works with successful lawfare that enforces monopoly labor laws that reduce substitutes. The model doesn’t exist in competitive markets. And Reagan showed there are substitutes, there’s no monopoly of labor except throug lawfare, other workers will step to the plate.

  9. 9

    Mr. Irons

    Hmm, Hawker Beechcraft just recently laid off 400 some Union IAM positions and about 100 Contractees (of 8 fellow direct department co workers) and my previous job in Online Retail was ended due to the Business shuttering its doors due to increased Federal Taxes and lack of Investor interests even after healthy business sales data … So yeah I really don’t think the private sector is doing, “fine.” There’s lack of consumer faith in domestic manufactured goods as was seen by a 6 percent drop in demand (that’s for the Liberals here roughly a roughly 10 million units of goods to be shipped and transported to buyers that won’t be made and the labor will have to be trimmed due to no purchases.)

  10. 10

    Nan G

    Before Obama began walking his words back, Scott Walker weighed in.

    Wisconsin governor Scott Walker tells THE WEEKLY STANDARD that Obama’s comments reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of the economy…..

    “There are two very different views in the country. The current administration seems to think that success is measured by how many people are dependent on the government. I think success is measured by how many are not. We will restore more freedom and more prosperity for all Americans if we see the private sector flourish so more people can get a job and control their own destiny.”

    Teachers, police, fire and gov’t employed public works people are all the ones Obama wants to ”help,” with our tax dollars.
    All Gov’t, all union.
    Imagine that.
    Then there are those on gov’t aid of one sort or another.
    50% of us!
    Obama likes that because he THUNKS our being dependent on gov’t equals our voting for the giver of more dependency….him.
    He’s wrong.

    The private sector is treading water.
    It is NOT flourishing.

  11. 11

    another vet

    Perhaps part of the reason why the evil job creators are hanging on to their money, is that they realize the cost of doing business will go up in 2014 when the full cost of Obamacare goes into effect and the money saved now will be spent later to cover those costs as well as whatever other costs they fear may be lurking around the corner. It’s called planning for the future. A concept that is apparently lost by most in DC.

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