Jobs report is awful. Politicians’ response worse.

Private-sector job growth, charted by Steve Benen.
Private-sector job growth, charted by Steve Benen.

The June unemployment report is in, and it is bad, maybe even terrible. The unemployment rate edged upward from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent. What’s worrying is that the economy seems to have stopped adding jobs. We already know we have millions of people out of work. Now we need businesses to hire some humans so the unemployment rate can go down.

Overall, the economy added just 18,000 jobs. Statistically, it almost might as well not have added any – we need more to add 150,000 jobs or so each month just to keep even. The private sector kicked in 57,000 jobs, but government laid off 39,000 people.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been going around the campaign trail saying that President Obama made the recession worse, and then saying he never said that. Today he released this statement:

“Today’s abysmal jobs report confirms what we all know - that President Obama has failed to get this economy moving again. Just this week, President Obama’s closest White House adviser said that ‘unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers’ do not matter to the average American.

“If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment. His comments are an insult to the more than 20 million people who are out of work, underemployed or who have simply stopped looking for jobs. With their cavalier attitude about the economy, the White House has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of indifference.”

Notice that Mr. Romney left off the part about Mr. Obama making things worse. As bad the situation is – and it seriously is bad – it’s not worse than before the president took office.

House Speaker John Boehner again referred the nation to his party’s 10-page clip art plan (pdf) for job creation. As Ezra Klein writes, this chronic unemployment started as a financial crisis. It has become a political one. “We could do more,” he writes. “We should do more. But Congress won’t do anything more.”

John Boehner and Mitt Romney

Jobs report is awful. Politicians' response worse.