Economists and media types -- same thing, really, they just took different AP classes in high school -- are again using the old “soft patch” excuse to explain away the inexplicable failure of the Obama administration to look after job creation in the United States.
"It is reflective of the continuation of the soft patch that the economy has been going through, but looking forward it seems that we're starting to gain a little bit of traction,” Russell Price, a senior economist at Ameriprise Financial, told NBCNews.
Traction would be a welcome relief from the un-urgent care the economy is receiving under President Barack Obama. Traction would at least be an admission that something is badly broken with the economy. Traction would at least be some treatment of the illness.
“Sorry, we finally read the stimulus bill and guess what? Jobs weren’t covered,” I expect White House Press Jester Jay Carney to say any day now. “We didn’t plan it that way,” he’ll add, “we’re just stupid.”
That seems to be the standard daily excuse coming from the White House. Employment numbers released this week show that unemployment claims were down moderately week-over-week but still remain too high to put a dent in real joblessness in America.
“Claims have been volatile in recent weeks,” Reuters reported, “but there is little in the numbers to suggest a shift in the moderate pace of job gains, even though the broader economy is struggling under the weight of higher taxes.”
Unemployment and underemployment is anything but “moderate,” officially standing at about 14 percent as of last month. But here’s the real killer, as Mike Shedlock has observed: In the last year, those "not" in the labor force rose by 1,604,000, and over the course of the last year, the number of people employed rose by 1,645,000.
Ouch. People are dropping out of the labor force at about the same rate that jobs are being created, yet unemployment has plunged? With numbers like these, one can easily make the case that unemployment is getting worse, not better, even though official statistics say the opposite is true.
Reuters, having it both ways, explains that “deep government spending cuts” are responsible for “the moderate pace of job gains.” Ha! That’s probably a line they got from the White House press séance held at the beginning of May when the administration started to unravel.
The White House held one of the first-ever off-the-record discussions with the press that we know about to discuss -- well, we don’t know, do we, what they discussed, really? And who can blame the White House for summoning the media mediums?
The media has been dead from the neck up for the last six years, and a séance is probably the best way to communicate with them. But every June, it seems, we run into that unexplained “soft patch” the media is again talking about. And we don’t recover until the first week in January.
In the meantime, we’ll be told all is well, except we just don’t spend enough money.
It’s almost as if the paid talking heads, in addition to getting the "Night of the Living Dead" briefings directly from the White House, also run some sort of a secret, online clearinghouse to come up with cover stories for Obama.
In the good-news-is-bad-news ménage a trois between the stock market, the Federal Reserve and Obama, we’re just supposed to be grateful that we still have jobs. Because things are getting better and the stock market is way up this year.
And expect that to continue as the economy get softer and patchier.