The “jobless recovery” theme is so deeply embedded that I’m not sure anything is going to change it. My guess is that President Bush’s speech tonight won’t try to correct that misconception, but rather will play to it by expressing concern about jobs and advocating new job training programs.
But the huge discrepancy between the jobs reported by employers and those reported in the government’s household survey, on which the unemployment numbers are based, is starting to be more widely discussed. The basic difference between the two sets of numbers is that self-employed people aren’t counted as having jobs in the employer survey. There also may be a difference in the treatment of temp workers, a fast-growing segment of the economy, but I’m not certain about that.
This chart shows very nicely how the employer data under-report the actual job growth that has taken place over the last two years:
The chart comes from the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, but I shamelessly stole it from Bill Hobbs, who has lots more good stuff on this topic on his site, so please check it out.
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