The new job numbers are out just in time for the second presidential debate tonight and boy are they lousy.
Economists were predicting 150,000 net jobs, which is a poor figure to begin with, but the actual number came in 50,000 short of that. Wall Street reacted to the news by taking a dive.
"I wouldn't want to be in President Bush's shoes," Ken Mayland of ClearView Economics told the Associated Press. "He had better prepare himself for an onslaught . . . The reality is that a 96,000 increase in a work force of a 131 million base is an anemic rise, and is in no way a satisfactory increase."
The Bush administration was naturally full of excuses - hurricanes, high oil prices, etc. - and of course lots of Orwellian doublespeak which has been a regular feature of this administration. Here is Labor Secretary Elaine Chao spinning the new figures: “(They) show the strength and resilience of our economy and that the labor market continues to improve,” she said.
Four years into his administration and we are nearly a million jobs short of where we started which is unprecedented since the time of Herbert Hoover. But look for Bush tonight to tout all these low-paying service jobs that have been ladled out over the past year in place of high-paying manufacturing jobs as evidence that his tax cuts are working.