Apr 02, 2004

Mankiw Fudges

You remember Mankiw, of “outsourcing is swell” fame?  Well upon being directed to WhiteHouse.gov by American Street to see Bush’s new campaign flash ad on his government website, I noticed Mankiw was on today’s “Ask the White House”:

According to the payroll survey the economy has created 759,000 jobs since August. According to the household survey the economy has created 978,000 over the same period. The unemployment rate, which also comes from the household survey, has fallen from its peak of 6.3 percent in June to 5.7 percent most recently.

The bottom line is that the economy is heading in the right direction, regardless of which survey you look at.

While Mankiw’s outsourcing remarks sparked a furor, his complete shock at the uproar made clear that he at least honestly believed what he was saying- but not so much today.  As Atrios likes to remind us, it takes about 140,000 jobs a month just to adjust to growth in the working population, and 306,000 to meet the administration’s projections for a given month.  So let’s do some math for Mr. Mankiw:

759,000 / 6 = 126,500
978,000 / 6 = 163,000

So by one survey they’re under the number needed just to stop sinking (2 1/2 years after the recovery began), and by another we’re just barely above.  That’s great.  And by the way, the question was why unemployment went up anyway, and while Mankiw seems to think this question requires a long convoluted answer, the Labor Dept. disagrees:

Even so, the unemployment rate inched up a tenth of a point to 5.7 percent as more people were encouraged to start looking for work again but failed to find jobs, the Labor Department said Friday.

There’s also this funny little nugget:

The deficit is unwelcome, and the President has said that he will reduce it in half over the next five years.

Is it me, or his he going out of his way not to say it himself?

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