April Showers

It’s official: another “disappointing” jobs report for April, but nothing that can be spun as a catastrophe; “slowing growth” could be accurate, though we’ll hear “sputtering recovery” from conservative outlets, and maybe be played some scary tapes of the wolf of “double-dip recession” howling nearby.

Net new jobs up 115,000, with the unemployment rate down a tick at 8.1% (but with slighly lower workforce participation, which makes it a wash). A lot of indicators basically flat. The best news is upward revisions of the March net new jobs number from 120k to 154k, and of the February number from 240k to 259k. I would note that the “disappointing” March jobs figure now comes in at above the “magic number” of 150k that Nate Silver has suggested would be necessary monthly to put the president in a strong position for re-election.

We’ll be hearing lots of spin and counter-spin on the April jobs number all day and through the weekend. Expect conservatives to cut quite a few capers even as they try to appear somber. They know what struggling workers need: Tax cuts for job creators! Austerity for everyone else!

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.