NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Is Adding 300,000 Jobs Unusual?

December 16, 2014

Pundits cheered this month when the Department of Labor announced 321,000 jobs were added in the month of November, hailing it as a sign of an improved economy. But George Will at the Washington Post says that optimism over the November jobs numbers is only evidence that "we have defined success down," as the United States used to produce 300,000 jobs more regularly. He explains:

  • During the 1960s, there were nine months in which United States saw more than 300,000 new jobs.
  • In June 1969, the United States added more than 300,000 jobs, yet the U.S. population had 117 million fewer people than it has today.
  • There were 23 months during the 1980s that saw job growth of more than 300,000.
  • November 1988 was one of those 300,000-job months, despite the population being 75 million people smaller than today.

How to create more stable job growth? Tax reform, says Will, though he notes that tax reformers generally agree on the ideas of lowering tax rates and closing loopholes, while they disagree on the details of that reform.

Source: George F. Will, "The cheerfulness of tax reform," Washington Post, December 12, 2014.


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