Today’s employment report shows continued signs of gradual labor market recovery. Private nonfarm payroll employment increased by 83,000 in June and the unemployment rate fell two-tenths of a percentage point to 9.5%. June marks the sixth month in a row that private sector employment has increased. These continued signs of healing are important, particularly given the recent volatility in world markets and the mixed behavior of other recent economic indicators. However, much stronger job gains are needed to repair the damage caused by the financial crisis and put the millions of unemployed Americans back to work.That's Christina Rhomer, of the Council of Economic Advisers. Glass half full, right? I wouldn't go so far as to call it a full-out Rosy Scenario, but the focus here is on the positive side. And, Klein reports, that does seem to be the White House message: "recent statements from and meetings with administration officials suggest that the White House's broad approach on the economy is to emphasize how much improvement there is, rather than how much needs to be done."
So what do liberal economists say? I don't see anything yet on Paul Krugman's blog, but I think it's safe to say that he's not exactly been cheerleading on the economy. Brad DeLong?
Obama should be saying that his policies have helped stop the economic decline. He should not be saying that the state of the business cycle is "improving." Even more so, he should not believe and act on a belief that the state of the business cycle is "improving." It ain't so.Jonathan Cohn quotes Larry Mishel preaching doom and gloom. Dean Baker (via Cohn)?
There is little basis for a hope of an improvement based on the establishment data...And there are no obvious candidates for improved growth any time soon...there is little hope for a robust growth any time soon.Cohn says this seems to be "the consensus on the center left." Sounds right to me.
My question, which I've asked before: where are the hack liberal economists? One would think that there's a real market niche here that someone would fill. I can think of two possible reasons that it's not happening.. Perhaps there is no such niche -- that is, there are few Democrats out there in the nation eager to buy the product of anyone basically cheerleading for the White House. Or, perhaps the market exists, but liberal economists all have too much integrity to fill it, and insist on saying whatever they believe is true (or whatever they believe suits their policy goals), regardless of whether it rewards them with appearances on MSNBC talk shows and healthy book contracts. I suppose it's also possible that the market exists but that liberal economists aren't smart enough to notice it. I don't know; I just think that it's striking, and I don't think the same thing was true in 2001-2002 or in 2008, when it seems to me that there were plenty of conservative economists eager to echo White House happy talk. (Although I'll admit I'm just working from memory here...anyone have citations one way or another?). So I'll ask again: where are the hack liberal economists?