Slow But Steady

Yes, it’s the first Friday of the month, and even though political animals may not follow the numbers as obsessively as they did prior to November 6, there is a new monthly BLS jobs report out, for December. It shows net new jobs of 155,000 for the month, almost precisely the average level for 2012 (and for that matter, 2011). The unemployment rate was unchanged at 7.8%. The number of long-term unemployed came in at 4.8 million, in case anyone wonders why a big part of the so-called “fiscal cliff” was the expiration of extended unemployment insurance.

Speaking of the fabled cliff, here’s a line from WaPo’s Neil Irwin’s reaction to the jobs report:

The new numbers offered little confirmation to the idea that the “fiscal cliff” of tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect Jan. 1, and which was averted earlier this week, caused employers to ratchet back hiring on any large scale. While many executives voiced fear and annoyance at the hijinks in Washington over the standoff, it did not, from this report at least, appear to translate into less job creation.

Remember that next time the deficit-hawky pundit class tells us the job-creators will panic and lay waste to the economy if we don’t do exactly what we are told by our betters.

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.