The Sexiest Economic Figure

Oct 4 2012 @ 8:39pm

Daniel Gross eagerly awaits the next jobs report:

In an election season driven by economic news, the mania for economic data spills over from the business section to the political pages. The monthly jobs figure released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which produce the all-important unemployment rate and the payroll jobs figure, is generally the most relatable, sexy and headline-grabbing member of its class. Think of it as the Kate Upton of economic data.

Voters and pundits don’t really care about GDP growth, or the volume of same-store sales growth, or industrial capacity utilization. It’s all noise. But jobs are easily understood. The most salient trends about the U.S. economy over the last several years have been the very rapid loss of millions of jobs and the slower recovery of many of them. Once a month, BLS either gives an incumbent occasion to crow about job growth (our policies are working!), or grants license to an opponent to lament the pathetic state of the economy (fire the bum!). This piece of data fits seamlessly into a campaign narrative.

He's betting that job growth will be relatively strong:

The flow of data would seem to point to continued jobs growth. If I had to go out on a limb, I’d project that September’s jobs report will show a more-than-decent gain – of up to 200,000. (If this prediction comes true, I’ll tell you about the super-secret source I relied on. If it falters, I’ll tell you who to blame.)