04 September 2020

August 2020 Job Numbers - Down from 22 to 11 Million Jobs Destroyed - Policy Now Determines How Many Millions of Lives Will be Destroyed

A few quick notes about today's jobs numbers.

One, it is fantastic to be up 1.4 million jobs in a month.

Two, we have now replaced 50% of the jobs lost in March and April. In March and April, the economy lost 22 million jobs. Since then, the economy has created (or brought back) 11 million jobs. So we're half way to normal and those next 11 million jobs will take longer than 4 months. Whether it takes years longer or months longer will be a matter of policy.

Three, we brought back 11 million jobs in no small part because we increased the deficit from $1 trillion to $3.3 trillion. There has been a huge infusion into the economy to keep households solvent and pay businesses to hire back folks, etc. Without that we could have easily seen an increase in the number unemployed rather than a halving.

One of the things that drove me crazy about the Great Recession were all the Republicans and some of the Democrats who were wringing their hands about the difference between a trillion dollar deficit and a two trillion dollar deficit, like that was more catastrophic than millions of Americans being unemployed for years rather than months. And of course all of you (and you know who you are - you continually commented on deficits before, as if they mattered more than destitute families) will be wringing your hands when we need to run record deficits to create and recover the next 11 million jobs. Just don't do it here; since 2008 I've become an old man and have lost my tolerance for intentional stupidity.

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