Sunday, July 8, 2012

Unemployment Data, Part Two

After the May jobs report came out, I published a post about temperature (without knowing what a heat wave we had coming) and linking that to our obsession with the monthly jobs report. Well, the June report came out Friday and the political class went crazy again. Either this is an illustration that the administration's policies are flawed or it's the sign of slow but continued progress toward better days.

I was struck with something that Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post blogged recently. He pointed out that June has been traditionally bad for President Obama and that employment has turned downward in the summer months.

That got me thinking. So naturally, I went to the Bureau of Labor Statistics website to look at the data myself. This is only the new jobs side of things, but it still shows interesting patterns. Naturally, I had to take the data and put it in a chart. I was able to show what happens to job growth monthly from 2002 through June of this year. Here's my chart.

What the data seems to suggest is that June and July have been tough months for most of the last 10 years, regardless of whose policies were in place. June was horrible from 2008 through 2011 and finally went positive in 2011. The chart suggests that July should also have growth below ideal projection levels of 125K. Not because of economic uncertainty, but because we've lost jobs in July every year except for 2004, 2005, and 2011.

I'm all for exploring the factors that contribute to or inhibit job growth but I really wish we'd learn some basic statistics before drawing such certain conclusions.

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