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Friday, November 04, 2011

SBE Council Chief Economist on Latest Jobs Numbers and the Economy

Raymond J. Keating, chief economist for the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council (SBE Council), released the following statement in response to the October employment data reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:

"What most people miss each month is that the jobs report is a story of two surveys - the payroll survey, which captures employment at established, larger firms, and the household survey, which is more volatile but better reflects small business and start up activity.

"The payroll survey for October offers nothing exciting. Employment growth of 80,000 was pathetic, and even if focusing on the private sector, a 104,000 gain was under-performing.

"The household survey, however, offers hope. After two years of downward movement and bouncing along the bottom, the labor force has gained for three months now: +366,000 in August, +423,000 in September, and +181,000 in October. At the same time, and most important, jobs growth in the household survey has been strong and positive for three straight months now: +331,000 in August, +398,000 in September, and +277,000 in October. Of course, both the labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio linger near quarter-century lows. But the question is: Are we at some kind of turning point?

"The answer to that, though, remains murky. Uncertainty on the economy and jobs, unfortunately, persists overwhelmingly due to an anti-growth policy environment. If tax, regulatory, and trade policies shifted in a pro-growth direction; government spending and debt were reined in; and monetary policy got re-focused on price stability, then the resulting confidence and clarity would be a huge plus for entrepreneurship, investment, and economic and employment growth."

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