September Jobs Report: Even Better Than Advertised

As you may recall, last month’s official employment numbers fell short of expectations, with “only” a net gain of 142,000 jobs. Well, the September numbers made up for that and a bit more, with a net gain of 248,000 jobs, and upward revisions for July and August adding another 69,000 jobs (the actual number for August is now 180,000.

Perhaps more dramatically, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9%, the lowest level in six years.

Political animals wonder: will it matter politically?

It’s unlikely. As Dave Weigel points out, at this point in 2006, just prior to a Democratic midterm landslide, the unemployment rate was under 5% and net job growth was steady if not spectacular. What tends to matter are perceptions of the economy rather than objective conditions, and negative perceptions from earlier in the year are hard to shake this late in an election cycle.

But the Jobs Report doesn’t hurt, obviously, and does subtly help undermine Republican claims that the sky is falling.

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.