The Conversation

WH Blames Dismal Jobs Report On Sequester

This morning, the Department of Labor reported that the economy added only 88,000 jobs last month, much lower than expected.   Unemployment has declined to 7.6 percent because people have left the workforce on a massive scale.

The White House didn't waste time in blaming the bad jobs numbers on the sequester. 

Via WH Dossier,  Alan B. Krueger, the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, wrote at the White House blog:

It is important to bear in mind that the March household and payroll surveys are the first monthly surveys to look at employment since the beginning of sequestration.  While the recovery was gaining traction before sequestration took effect, these arbitrary and unnecessary cuts to government services will be a headwind in the months to come, and will cut key investments in the Nation’s future competitiveness.  The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that the sequester will reduce employment by 750,000 full-time equivalent jobs by the end of the year. 

But as Mike Flynn noted in his report on the jobs numbers at Big Journalism, a close look at the data shows the cuts had almost no impact on the job market. 

Professional services, the sector of the economy most impacted by government contracts, increased hiring by 51k last month, in line with previous growth. A pullback in government spending would likely have seen this sector shed jobs. Except for a modest decline in the US Postal Service, government employment was little changed from last month.

At White House Dossier, Keith Koffler notes, "Americans are probably just feeling the pain of tax hikes that went into effect in January at the insistence of the White House, well before sequestration took effect."

Krueger began this month's jobs report with the same exact paragraph he's used for a year, now:

While more work remains to be done, today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to heal from the wounds inflicted by the worst downturn since the Great Depression. It is critical that we pursue the policies needed to build an economy that works for the middle class as we continue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.

Thanks to the sequester, I guess, even more work remains to be done.


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