The job-loss recovery

To rephrase the old Passover question: Why is this economic recovery different from all other economic recoveries?

Each of the previous nine recoveries in the US since World War II produced new jobs in the first 20 months. But the 10th and current recovery stands out from the rest: there are actually fewer jobs now than when it started.

As economist Alice Rivlin quipped tonight on PBS, “This isn’t just a jobless recovery, it’s a job-loss recovery.”

The Labor Department reported the loss of 93,000 more jobs last month. Of those, 67,000 were in the service sector– you know, where all the employment growth is supposed to be happening.

“Bush pushed for — and won — tax cuts earlier this year that his Council of Economic Advisers predicted would create 5.5 million jobs between July 2003 and the end of 2004, with most of that job creation coming at the front end. So far, the administration’s predictions have missed the mark,” CNN reported with admirable understatement.

Meanwhile, as we wait for President Bush’s multi-trillion-dollar tax cut (mostly for the wealthy) to kick in and produce the promised gusher of jobs, the projected costs in Iraq are starting to mount.

It will be interesting to hear what Bush has to say Sunday night.