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E.g., 7/16/2019
E.g., 7/16/2019

Jobs bounced back in June, but totals have slipped under Trump

07/08/19 08:40AM

The job numbers in May were a major disappointment, prompting a series of uncomfortable questions about whether the job market might be headed in a very discouraging direction.

Fortunately, those questions were silenced, at least for now, by the jobs report released on Friday morning. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 224,000 jobs in June, while the unemployment rate inched up a little to 3.7%.

As heartening as the latest numbers were, the revisions from the previous two months were a little disappointing: job totals from April and May were both revised down, subtracting 11,000 from previous reporting.

As for the political implications, Donald Trump has now been in office for 29 full months -- February 2017 through June 2019 -- and in that time, the economy has created 5.61 million jobs. In the 29 months preceding Trump's presidency -- September 2014 to January 2017 -- the economy created 6.42 million jobs.

Last month, I heard from a couple of readers who asked what would happen if we looked at the same numbers, but assigned the job totals from January 2017 to Trump, even though Obama was president for most of the month. On balance, I think that paints a misleading picture, but it doesn't change the underlying dynamic: if we applied jobs from January 2017 to Trump and compared the last 30 months to the previous 30 months, job totals still slowed from 6.59 million to 5.87 million.

The White House, meanwhile, believes we should start the clock for Trump at November 2016 -- the month of his election -- and apply the jobs created during the final months of the Obama era to the current Republican president. But that still doesn't help: if we compare the last 32 months to the previous 32 months, job totals slowed from 7.32 million to 6.25 million.

The Republican continues to tell the world that he's overseeing the strongest domestic job growth in American history, which is plainly false. What's more, the White House has not yet offered an explanation for why job growth has slowed since Trump took office.

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Justin Amash

Michigan congressman declares his independence from Republican Party

07/08/19 08:00AM

For eight weeks, it was notable that one -- and only one -- Republican member of Congress publicly supported Donald Trump's impeachment.

On the 4th of July, however, that number slipped back to zero -- not because a member of Congress reversed course on the impeachment question, but because the GOP lawmaker in question decided it was time to abandon his party.

Michigan Rep. Justin Amash announced Thursday that he was leaving the GOP after growing "disenchanted" and "frightened" by party politics.

Amash, who represents Michigan's third congressional district, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post that he would remain in Congress as an independent.

The lawmaker's announcement came less than a month after Amash also parted ways with the right-wing House Freedom Caucus, which he helped create.

In light of these high-profile shifts, it may be tempting for some to assume that the Michigan congressman is shifting his ideology, or perhaps even becoming more moderate, leaving him out of place with the increasingly far-right Republican mainstream. But that's not quite right: Amash has changed his affiliations, but not his political perspective or principles.

Or put another way, as far as Amash is concerned, he didn't leave the GOP; the GOP left him.

It's exceedingly rare for sitting members of Congress to change parties, which made Amash's announcement extraordinary in its own right, but there are also some meaningful practical implications of news like this.

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