Our attention for the last few days has been on Hurricane Sandy and its aftermath, and rightly so. But as we pivot back to Tuesday’s presidential vote, there’s economic news that may swing the needle in what is still an extraordinarily tight race. It’s the number of jobs added to the economy in the last month before the election.
It comes to us from ADP Research, the day before the official job data arrives from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it’s our number of the day: 158,000.
I’ll be talking about this tomorrow in more depth with former Labor Secretary Robert Reich. But in short: this is an adequate number, but not great.
We need about 150,000 new jobs each month just to accommodate new job seekers and population growth. This is basically where we’ve been. We’ve now averaged 147,000 new jobs a month this year — and 153,000 new jobs a month last year.
So this marks two years of steady, positive job creation since the recession bottomed out. Of course, these monthly numbers always set off a deafening roar of spin and chatter. No doubt, we’ll hear Republicans say that, well, this just isn’t enough. And they’re right.
But we’ve already seen where their trickle-down policies have led us: to the cataclysm of 2008. We’re now seeing the fruits of smart policies: stability and new jobs. The improvement isn’t dramatic. But it’s real.