Dean Baker has a post up complaining about unnamed members of the mass media and others referring to the 290,000 nonfarm payrolls report Friday as "strong" growth. He points out that, ex census workers, the number is 224,000, which is certainly fair. But he also says that the proper way to evaluate the jobs number is by adjusting for population growth, and so doing, he says, it is not "strong."
Courtesy of the St. Louis Fred's new toy, we can divide the monthly growth/loss in jobs reported by the BLS by population, to give us jobs gain/lost per capita. Here it is from 1969 to the present (note, I omitted two outliers, one month in 1978 and also September 1982 which showed over.004 growth, the better to show contrast)::
Note that this graph includes the census jobs, since that is how the BLS reported the number. If we were to subtract those jobs, April's ratio would be reduced from about 0.0010 to 0.0008.
Either way, it seems to me, we can conclude the following:
1. April's job growth was much stronger than that coming out of either the 1991 or 2001 recessions.
2. April's job growth was strong compared with the last decade -- only some months in 2004 and 2005 were stronger.
3. April's job growth was NOT strong compared with job growth coming out of either of the two severe recessions of 1974 or 1982. In fact it was perhaps only half as strong as during those recoveries.
I should point out that, had I extended this graph all the way back to 1946, job growth during those recoveries up through the 1960s was even stronger per capita, often approaching 0.0030. This seems consistent with the idea that over the very long term, the US economy has gotten weaker as the US has made up less and less of the world's GDP since 1945.
Last week I wrote this regarding "think tanks:"
The phrase "think tank" is now an oxymoron, much like jumbo shrimp. Anyone who works at a "think tank" has an agenda, around which he/she attempts to bend the facts. This occurs on both sides of the political aisle in equal proportion. People who work at "think tanks" are either whores (they sell their intellectual abilities to the highest bidder), hacks (they are paid to say certain things at all times in order to promote a particular ideology) or politicians (meaning they have an agenda to obtain a political result). Some people fall into all three, meaning they earn the coveted "hat trick of intellectual whoredom." Either way, remember that when a "think tank" spokesman is moving their lips they are lying and if you offered them a higher salary they would tell you the sky is purple, the Astros are contenders and Bob Dylan can carry a tune with perfection.
I've seen enough of this type of garbage from both sides of the political aisle to say I don't read anything from a "think tank" anymore.