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.
Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly changes in total jobs since the start of the Great Recession. The image makes a distinction: red columns point to monthly changes under the Bush and Trump administrations, while blue columns point to monthly job changes under the Obama administration.