Mitt’s TGIF

In case you managed to put it out of your mind, tomorrow is another Jobs Report Friday, with numbers from June coming in. The general anticipation has been for another distinctly sub-par report like May’s: perhaps 100,000 net new jobs, perhaps 90,000. There are, however, some last-minute positive indicators, as Reuters reports today:

Employers outside government added 176,000 new workers to their payrolls last month, the ADP National Employment Report showed on Thursday, after increasing 136,000 in May.

The government will release its closely watched employment report for June on Friday. While ADP has a poor track record of predicting nonfarm payrolls, it was a welcome sign for the labor market.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 374,000, the Labor Department said. The four-week moving average for new claims, a better measure of labor market trends, fell 1,500 to 385,750.

“Jobless claims are a move in the right direction. The drop, combined with the ADP report earlier, suggests the jobs market is not as weak as recent data has suggested,” said Omer Esiner, chief market analyst at Commonwealth Foreign Exchange in Washington.

Nonfarm payrolls are expected to have increased 90,000 in June, according to a Reuters survey, after May’s 69,000 gain.

Keep in mind Nate Silver’s estimate that Obama needed average monthly job gains of 150,000 this year to put himself in a sound fundamental position for re-election.

Barring a boffo June Jobs Report, however, you can expect massive, sustained machine-gun fire from the entire GOP the moment the numbers come out early tomorrow morning, for the simple reason articulated by MSNBC’s First Read today:

Perhaps no one is looking forward more to tomorrow’s jobs report than Romney — as simply a way to change the subject. If you think about it, the past three weeks or so have been dominated by issues other than the economy and not-so-coincidentally, it coincides with Romney’s roughest poll patch of the general since the primaries. The president’s immigration announcement. The Supreme Court’s ruling on Arizona’s immigration law. And the Supreme Court’s decision on health care. All of these issues have put Romney on the defensive, and all of them have exposed some of his flaws as a candidate. Tomorrow has the potential to get him back on the subject he wants this election to be about: the economy.

More to the point, a poor or iffy Jobs Report would enable Team Mitt to ignore all those messy subjects “the base” wants him to talk about. So long as it looks like the “economic referendum” message is a definite winner, the Right will likely give Mitt some space, despite fears that anything other than a loud campaign against Barack the Tyrant won’t produce the kind of mandate needed to return the country to its proper, 1930s policies.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.