The Only Jobs Report Post You Need to Read
Total nonfarm employment up 192,000, unemployment rate steady at 6.7 percent. Get ready for a deluge of bland commentary about what that means!
My view is that the government clearly deserves credit or blame for something. If the government enacted the policies I prefer, things would be better, but any government policies I support are the reason things are as good as they are.
Okay, in all seriousness -- here's a chart of the unemployment rate:
See that little horizontal bit at the end? That's the breaking news. As you can see from the last few years' worth of data, it's not at all unusual for two consecutive months to have the same unemployment rate even though the overall trend is downward.
And here's the jobs number itself:
The Y axis is divided into units of 2.5 million. Employment fell more than three of those units because of the recession. Today's news is an improvement of less than one-tenth of a unit, and it's pretty much the same news we've been getting every month since jobs bottomed out in early 2010.
Update: Just in case the above didn't convince you that most jobs-report commentary is pointless, I ran a few more numbers. Starting with the increase from January to February of 2011, the mean number of jobs added has been 187,000. The median? 197,000. Last month's number is perfectly in the middle of those.
Robert VerBruggen is editor of RealClearPolicy. Twitter: @RAVerBruggen