A Sigh of Relief

The Labor Department reported today that employers added 144,000 payroll positions in August, while job totals for June and July were also revised upward by 59,000. Unemployment dropped from 5.5% to 5.4%.
That’s great news, following July’s disappointing numbers.
And spare me the emails about the shortcomings of the payroll jobs statistic. We all know that payroll jobs are only one part of the employment picture, and that the Labor Department’s tracking of those jobs is flawed. But the fact that a statistic is incomplete or imperfect–almost all statistics are–does not mean that it is irrelevant. And since, for better or worse, the payroll jobs number is the one that politicians and pundits focus on, August’s strong number will take pressure off the administration between now and November.

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