msnbc | November 03, 2012
>>> it a preview of things to come on tuesday? we will certainly get to that. meantime the last report on unemployment before election day is out. on the campaign trail, president obama emphasized the positive news yesterday that companies hired more workers in october than at any time in the last eight months. joining me now is jared bernstein, msnbc contributor and former economic policy adviser to vice president biden and author of "it's your business" and msnbc's your business host j.j. ramberg. welcome to the both of you. jared , let's start with the october jobs reports there. the unemployment. it did tick up just .1% to 7.9. but the economy added 171,000 jobs. so when you go inside the numbers, what is it that we find?
>> you find a generally positive jobs report, one that shows some real momentum in terms of the pace of job growth . the big number there, 171,000 new jobs added on the payrolls in october. and actually, what i like to do with these monthly numbers, because they can be quite noisy month-to-month, is average out a few months. and if you take the average of the past four months, we're adding about 170,000 per month. now, you compare that with the much slower pace of job growth in the second quarter, about 70,000 per month. and you get a sense of the uptick, of the momentum. that's important in an economic sense, it's also important in a political sense. now, in terms of the uptick in unemployment, that's actually a function of the fact that more people were in the labor market looking for work. that's actually a good sign. an improving job market appears to be pulling more people in and in fact many of those folks got jobs. the share of americans employed, the employment rate , not the unemployment rate but the employment side of that equation, actually ticked up a bit as well. so generally a report showing some positive momentum in the job market .
>> and real unemployment, jared , 14.6% is the number we're hearing? does that appreciatably dim the picture?
>> well, that's a number that has been considerably elevated. that includes about 8 million people who are the vernacular calls involuntary part-timers. meaning people who would rather have full-time work but can't find as many hours as they want. that remains a tough issue in the economy. but even that rate is down relative to where it was in prior months. so again, i think the key issue here is some positive momentum in the job market .
>> okay. j.j., what about small businesses ? that's your area of expertise here. have you seen positive momentum?
>> there's definitely been more optimism recently than in the past. the issue is small businesses , though, is the economy in general. so we talk a lot about taxes, about lending, about health care . really the issue is for them, how do we get people through the door? how do we get customers? as the economy gets better we'll get more customers. our problems will be solved.
>> you have this new book. do you think small businesses are just waiting on the election results and then they will hire regardless of who wins? i mean, what's holding them back?
>> in part, yes. uncertainty is a big problem for small businesses . you can basically throw anything at an entrepreneur and they will handle it. throwing the unknown at them is very hard. so i do think the election will solve some of that. but again economy will solve all of it.
>> jared , we have this recent "new york times," cbs poll in which it shows that 36% say the economy is getting better. is one of the democrats' biggest fierce that if governor romney wins he's inheriting an economy on the up swing and would be able to step in and start taking credit for it?
>> well, probably one of the democrats' figurest feabiggest fierce is simply that romney wins. i have heard this argument. there's something to it. there are very much economic cycles embedded in our economy. and the next president is absolutely going to preside over an improved economy relative to the last four years. that said, i think the important thing there is to look at their different policies and how they might impact not just the economy but also the budget path. and there i think not just democrats but there are legitimate concerns about governor romney 's $5 trillion tax cut that he's yet to specify anything like how he's going to pay for it. so economy aside you also have to worry about fiscal health, fiscal rectitude. that's a problem for republicans.
>> hey, jj, real quickly, hurricane sandy. $50 billion in damages. what kind of impact is that going to have on the economy?
>> it's huge. that's a big impact for small businesses . if you're a small business and living day-to-day, if you're closed for one day, that affects you, that affects your pocketbook, then you don't have more to spend somewhere else. it's a big problem.
>> a real domino effect .
>> can i point out on that, hurricane sandy is not in last month's jobs numbers. the surveys were taken before the hurricane. in future months we'll certainly see some impacts in these jobs numbers.
>> absolutely right. as always to the both of you, many thanks.