Bikini Graph time! Unemployment rate reaches lowest point in nearly 5 years


bikini itsy bitsy

It’s time to bring back the Bikini Graph! As always, red columns point to monthly job totals under the Bush administration, while blue columns point to job totals under the Obama administration. And today we get a bonus graph, courtesy of the wonderful Steve Benen:

graph chart unemployment Obama benen Maddow

Incidentally, the other main Republican talking point on jobs for much of Obama's first term was that the net total of jobs gained on the president's watch is zero. It was always a ridiculous argument -- it was predicated on the assumption that Obama deserved the blame for the jobs lost a couple of weeks after his inauguration -- but it looks even sillier now. To date, the net gain for jobs under Obama is about 2.1 million overall and nearly 2.8 million in the private sector.

And here are the Bikini Graphs. The Maddow Blog has more details. Benen starts by calling the jobs report "underwhelming" because the 162,000 jobs added in July were below expectations. However, there was a glimmer of positive news, too:

bikini graph August 2013 overall

bikini graph August 2013 private sector

In a rare sight, public-sector layoffs were not a drag on the overall totals -- the private sector added 161,000 jobs, while the public sector added 1,000 jobs. (In recent years, the public sector ordinarily sheds several thousand jobs per month). The overall unemployment rate dropped to 7.4%, but largely because of people leaving the workforce. [...]

We're steadily adding jobs every month at rates above population growth, but we're seeing neither a hiring boom nor a deteriorating employment landscape. It's just ... leveled off.

Money quote (no pun):

Republican leaders remain committed to sequestration cuts that are holding back job creation on purpose, and are focused primarily on spending bills that punish those already struggling.

I made similar points here: Boehner wants Pres. Obama to destroy a growing economy.

So far this year, 1.34 million jobs were added overall, 1.37 million in the private sector.