Today’s Economic Mixed Bag

Sep 27 2012 @ 5:42pm

Benchrev

Jared Bernstein highlights the good news …

[T]he preliminary benchmark revision to the payroll jobs survey showed that as of March of this year, employers added 386,000 more jobs than we thought (453K in the private sector)…. So, good to know we’ve had a bit more momentum on the jobs front, though obviously we’re still way behind where we need to be to tighten up the job market.

… and the not-so-good news:

Real GDP growth for the second quarter was revised down from an annual rate of 1.7% to 1.3%.  Downward revisions in consumer spending and business investment largely explain the drop, along with weaker exports.

Matthew Zeitlin reviews Obama's overall jobs record:

Should this revision hold up, it will mean that 125,000 net new jobs had been created since Obama’s inauguration in January 2009—rather than a net job loss. The economy lost around 4.3 million jobs in the first year he was in office. With the new revision, roughly 4.4 million jobs have been created since the job market started consistently adding new jobs in March 2010.

James Pethokoukis isn't so upbeat:

If you combine high unemployment, low labor force participation, and slow GDP growth, 2012 might well be the worst non-recession, non-depression year in the history of the United States. The only other challenger is 2011. Or maybe next year …

Greg Sargent weighs in:

The revised jobs numbers do suggest that one reason Obama seems to be defying political gravity may be that the economy was doing a bit better than previously thought. But again, jobs numbers alone are overhyped as a determinant of how people are really experiencing the economy, which is far more complicated than one metric can capture.

Brad Plumer, meanwhile, examines the impact of the drought on GDP:

Roughly half of [the] decline came from a sharp fall in farm inventories. Crop production declined $12 billion over the quarter, data showed, "due to this summer’s severe heat and drought."