The Campaign Spot

Six Weeks After Stimulus Signed, Unemployment Numbers Look Miserable

President Obama has called on the American people’s patience while defending his stimulus plan. But states, “The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act targets investments towards key areas that will save or create good jobs immediately, while also laying the groundwork for long-term economic growth.” It was signed into law on February 18.

There are two jobs reports out. CNN’s headline is “Employment reports show mixed picture,” but the news is either astonishingly gloomy or mildly gloomy.

The [Automated Data Processing] report, which is based on payroll data from 500,000 U.S. businesses, said the private sector eliminated 742,000 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in March. That up 36,000 from last month’s revised figure of 706,000.

That’s the bad one. Did I say “bad”? I meant, “worst ever” from ADP. Now, here’s the report that the CNN report uses to justify the “mixed” in the headline:

Challenger, Gray & Christmas Inc. reported that the number of planned job cuts announced in March fell for the second straight month.

Job cut announcements by U.S. employers totaled 150,411 in March, a decline of 19.3% from February’s 186,350 cuts, which was down from a seven-year high in January, according to Challenger.

Last month, ADP put the drop at 697,000 (later revised up to 706,000). The Department of Labor put it at 851,000. If the precedent holds, the government statistics due out Friday should be thoroughly miserable.

But I guess that’s not counting the “jobs saved” by the recovery plan.


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