Congratulations, Speaker Boehner!

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Aug. 6 2010 10:08 AM

Congratulations, Speaker Boehner!

Last year, a smart Republican strategist in California told me that the economy needed to be turning around, in a way that voters could appreciate, by April 2010 in order for it to help the Democrats run on recovery. That didn't happen. There might have been some hope for the Democrats if the new BLS report, one of only three before voters go to the polls, had been positive. Oh, well .

Total nonfarm payroll employment declined by 131,000 in July, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.5 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Federal government employment fell, as 143,000 temporary workers hired for the decennial census completed their work. Private-sector payroll employment edged up by 71,000.

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Fair to point out: This report would be rosier if Republicans had not succeeded in delaying aid to the public sector. They really aren't trying to obscure that strategy. Yesterday Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., spun the passage of $26.1 billion in state aid as "a last-minute effort by Democrats to funnel more money to the public employees' unions before an election." That's classic Republican class war rhetoric, and McConnell should really give some lessons to Colorado gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes, who has pledged to straight-up fire public employees without reminding voters that these people don't deserve jobs because they're "special interests" who belong to unions. But really, you can't blame the Republicans for the bad news here. May and June nonfarm employment numbers have both been revised downward. Construction employment is down by 11,000 jobs, somehow.

Annie Lowrey brings the charts.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.