Bush & Snow on June Employment Report

Treas. Sec. Snow told CNNFN’s Market Call that he is looking more at the Household Survey because it supposedly picks up self-employed workers more effectively than the separate payroll survey of employers — an issue on which there is some debate among economists — and showed a gain of 259,000 jobs in June. It wouldn’t be that the 259,000 reported increase is larger than the 112,000 reported increase from the Payroll Survey – would it? But Snow was more focused on the Payroll Survey for earlier months. Note over the past 5 months, this Household Survey shows an increase of only 465,000 as opposed to the 1.1 million number being hyped by the White House.

I agree with the following statement from President Bush:

We’re witnessing steady growth, steady growth. And that’s important. We don’t need boom or bust type growth. We want just steady, consistent growth so that our fellow citizens will be able to find a job and so that the small business sector will feel confident about expanding.

Compares this to: “The U.S. economy is growing at its fastest rate in 20 years”, which is often tossed out in reference to one good quarter – 2003QIII where the ANNUALIZED rate of growth. But real GDP in 2004QI was only 1.082 times real GDP in 2000QIV, which means average annual growth of only 2.47% over the past 3.25 years. Real GDP in 2000QIV was 1.327 times real GDP in 1992QIV so the Clinton years saw an average annual growth rate equal to 3.6%.

But Bush was talking employment. During the Clinton years, average employment rose 240,000 per month. From January 2001 to now, employment increases averaged NEGATIVE 32,000 per month.

I’m glad Bush is emphasizing the longer term as opposed to very brief periods of time, but did his advisors brief him about what the data really say?