Alan B. Krueger, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, issued the following statement today on the employment situation in April:
Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the economy is continuing to heal from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, but much more remains to be done to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and the deep recession. It is critical that we continue the economic policies that are helping us dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began at the end of 2007. President Obama has said that prosperity in America has always come from a strong and growing middle class. He has made clear that getting back to where we were is not enough. We need to do more, which is why the President has laid out his blueprint for an American economy that is built to last and will continue to urge Congress to act to do more to grow the economy and create jobs.
Private employer payrolls increased by 130,000 jobs in April, and overall non-farm payroll employment rose by 115,000. The unemployment rate dipped from 8.2% in March to 8.1% in April, according to the household survey. Though labor force participation fell over the month according to the household survey, since August the unemployment rate has fallen by 1.0 percentage point, from 9.1% to 8.1%, and nearly three-quarters of that drop is attributable to increased employment.
Despite adverse shocks that have created headwinds for economic growth the economy has added private sector jobs for 26 straight months, for a total of 4.25 million payroll jobs over that period. With upward revisions of 65,000 jobs to the past two months’ employment reports, in the first quarter of 2012 private employment expanded by 697,000 jobs, the largest quarterly increase since the first quarter of 2006. So far this year, 827,000 private sector jobs have been added, on net.
Manufacturing continues to be a bright spot and added 16,000 jobs in April. After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the recession, the economy has added 489,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010. To continue the revival in manufacturing jobs and output, the President has proposed tax incentives for manufacturers, enhanced training for the workforce, and measures to create manufacturing hubs and encourage the growing trend of insourcing.
Other sectors with net job increases included wholesale and retail trade (+36,700), professional and business services (+62,000), and education and health services (+23,000). Transportation and warehousing lost 16,600 jobs, and construction lost 2,000 jobs. Local governments shed 12,000 jobs, mostly in education.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available.
In response, Republican presumptive nominee Mitt Romney attacked the numbers, saying that the economy should be adding 500,000 jobs a month for a "real" recovery. But as ThinkProgress reported, that has only happened 16 times since 1939, and only four times in the last 50 years: once was in 2010, under Obama, and the other time was 1997, under Clinton (remember his tax rates? 22 million jobs were created). The American economy started shedding jobs as soon as Bush came to office and instituted his tax cuts and wars, shedding as many as 750,000 a month by the time he left office in 2008.