A Bit Of Context On 200,000 Jobs

A blog about business and economics.
Jan. 6 2012 9:52 AM

A Bit Of Context On 200,000 Jobs

1325873308467

Above you'll find employment growth in the 1990s. You'll see that a 200,000 jobs month, though good, is hardly record-setting. And that was at a time when we weren't climbing out from a terrible ditch. Just a reminder that when I say things are improving and are likely to continue improving, that doesn't mean we're living through the best of times or that these policies we're being governed by are working out great. It's clearly logistically possible for a country to add jobs at a much faster clip that we're currently doing and it's possible to do it even without such an enormous overhang of excess capacity. The people in charge should be stepping on the gas and not just congratulating themselves.

One thing you saw here in December is that if suddenly it's Christmas and a bunch of people go buy more stuff, that leads to a hiring surge in the transportation and warehousing of goods. American firms, in other words, still hire people when they have more customers and America still has plenty of able-bodied workers to be hired. If the Christmas demand surge leads to an employment surge, then a demand surge orchestrated during a non-holiday season—by, say, giving ordinary people a bunch of free money—should produce the same effect.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Don’t Worry, Obama Isn’t Sending U.S. Troops to Fight ISIS

But the next president might. 

IOS 8 Comes Out Today. Do Not Put It on Your iPhone 4S.

Why Greenland’s “Dark Snow” Should Worry You

How Much Should You Loathe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell?

Here are the facts.

Amazon Is Launching a Serious Run at Apple and Samsung

Television

Slim Pickings at the Network TV Bazaar

Three talented actresses in three terrible shows.

Foreigners

More Than Scottish Pride

Scotland’s referendum isn’t about nationalism. It’s about a system that failed, and a new generation looking to take a chance on itself. 

The Ungodly Horror of Having a Bug Crawl Into Your Ear and Scratch Away at Your Eardrum

We Could Fix Climate Change for Free. Now There’s Just One Thing Holding Us Back.

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 17 2014 7:03 PM Once Again, a Climate Policy Hearing Descends Into Absurdity
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 17 2014 1:36 PM Nate Silver Versus Princeton Professor: Who Has the Right Models?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 17 2014 6:53 PM LGBTQ Luminaries Honored With MacArthur “Genius” Fellowships
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 17 2014 6:14 PM Today in Gender Gaps: Biking
  Slate Plus
Slate Fare
Sept. 17 2014 9:37 AM Is Slate Too Liberal?  A members-only open thread.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 17 2014 8:25 PM A New Song and Music Video From Angel Olsen, Indie’s Next Big Thing
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 17 2014 9:00 PM Amazon Is Now a Gadget Company
  Health & Science
Jurisprudence
Sept. 17 2014 4:49 PM Schooling the Supreme Court on Rap Music Is it art or a true threat of violence?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 17 2014 3:51 PM NFL Jerk Watch: Roger Goodell How much should you loathe the pro football commissioner?