President Obama’s top economic adviser explained today that the national unemployment rate is not really 8.3 percent, as the Labor Department announced.
“The household survey showed that the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.3% in July (or, more precisely, the rate rose from 8.217% in June to 8.254% in July),” Alan Krueger, chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote on the White House blog. “Acting BLS Commissioner John Galvin noted in his statement that the unemployment rate was ‘essentially unchanged’ from June to July.”
The Romney campaign jumped on the statement. “SHORTER WHITE HOUSE STATEMENT: ‘Don’t read too much into one month, but just in case you do we’ve carried it to the 1/1000th of a pct for you,’” quipped Romney spokesman Lenny Alcivar.
Krueger’s longing for precision did not extend to a discussion of the jobs numbers, though. For instance, he noted “that private sector establishments added 172,000 jobs last month, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 163,000.”
He did not mention that 195,000 fewer Americans had jobs this month as opposed to last month, as 150,000 Americans dropped out of the labor force (and so were not counted in the Labor Department’s calculation of the unemployment rate).
The only negative numbers that Krueger acknowledged pertained to state and local government job lossess, which he offered as almost the only thing holding back the economic recovery.