Best job growth ever (thirty years ago)

This is the thirtieth anniversary of the best job growth ever in American history. The September 1983 job growth was 1,114,000. For the year, we ended up with 3.5 million new jobs and managed 3.9 million the year after that. This economic boom started by the Reagan recovery lasted a quarter century with only minor hiccups.

1,114,000 new jobs in one month. And back then the labor forces was 1/3 smaller (although Obama is working on that reducing the labor force thing.) It would be the equivalent of 1.6 million today. Today if we manage to create that many new jobs in a whole year the Obama folks call it a miracle and I suppose with Obama a president it would be.

For of all sad words of tongue or pen,
The saddest are these: "It might have been!"

We elected the wrong man in 2012 and we have to live with that. Despite it all, I still believe in America and I don't think we need permanently to be stuck in these doldrums. America can do better.

Posted by Christine & John at October 5, 2013 7:34 AM
Comment #372049

Your party just furloughed 800,000 people, shut down the government, and is openly threatening to collapse the economy over the debt ceiling. This might not be the best time to thump your chest about being pro-growth.

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 2:58 PM
Comment #372050

Democrats had a hand in the shut down to PHX8, Obama didn’t want to give the same 1 year deferment to us little folks that he did to his corporate buddies.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 3:19 PM
Comment #372052

What does a perceived problem with the PPACA have to do with a government shutdown? Why would Democrats want to shut down the government? If there is something illegal in the PPACA, there are courts to address it. If it is unpopular with people, there are elections to take control of the Senate and the White House and change the policy. If there are features that need amending, there is a legislative process. You are not making sense.

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 4:16 PM
Comment #372054

The deferment was attached to the bill the House sent to the Senate. phx8. A deferment to everyone for one year not just Obama’s corporate cronies.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 4:25 PM
Comment #372055

The individual mandate is a cornerstone of health care reform. Killing the mandate kills the legislation just as effectively as repeal.

There are two types of deferments for employers. One has been in existence since 2010, and applicants have to re-apply each year. Those deferments usually involve an already existing type of mini-benefit health plan already in existence at some employers. It has nothing whatsoever to do with ‘cronyism.’ Both supporters and opponents of health care reform have taken that annual exemption over the past three years.

The other deferment was provided at the request of the US Chamber of Commerce for employers with over 50 employees. It is a one year delay. Businesses said they needed it to sort out reporting requirements. Again, this has nothing to do with ‘cronyism.’ Most people will not be affected one way or another since most large employers already offer health care insurance as a benefit. Meanwhile, the insurance exchanges will still be available for individuals, and for those individuals unable to afford it, the individual mandate is waived.

What does any of this have to do with shutting down the government and furloughing 800,000 people?

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 4:49 PM
Comment #372056

phx8 what has deferring the individual mandate for one year have to do with killing the ACA. Giving individuals a one year deferment like the corporations to work out bugs in the law is not killing it. So Democrats have just as much of a hand in the shutdown as do republicans.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 5:05 PM
Comment #372058

Senator Cruz saturated the airwaves in Oregon with ads making the same claim as you about some sort of sinister deferment for big corporations. Apparently he thought the ads would convince people to sign a verbal petition, and create a groundswell for supporting a repeal of the PPACA, and support for shutting down the government.

Boy, was he wrong.

Here is a portion from a WaPo Fact-Check article on the claim:

“The president is quietly granting Obamacare waivers to big corporations.”

The ad flashes a reference to a New York Times article on July 2 as its source, but nothing in the newspaper that day refers to “waivers” being granted to “big corporations,” quietly or not. Instead, the news that day was about the administration’s unexpected decision to delay the employer mandate by one year — a move that spawned big headlines.

Frazier says the use of the word “quietly” was justified because the announcement was made via a blog post by a Treasury Department official (under a headline apparently designed to appeal to Baucus: “Continuing to Implement the ACA in a Careful, Thoughtful Manner.”)

Frazier also says that some columnists have used the phrase “delay” and “waiver” interchangeably.

Referring to “quiet” waivers to big corporations, of course, makes the administration’s shift seem much more sinister. But the vast majority of firms with more than 50 employees — about 96 percent — already offer health-care coverage. As we have noted, this factoid doesn’t tell the whole story — companies may offer health care but not to all employees — and so it is unclear how many workers would actually be affected. But Cruz is overstating the case when he suggests this action was only aimed at big companies.”

Maybe you are unaware, but individuals with low incomes in states not offering exchanges are not subject to the individual mandate.

And I still do not understand what any of this has to do with shutting down the government, or why the Democrats are responsible? Democrats are opposed, and have offered a clean CR which seeks no political advantage, no concessions. Everything would be the same as it was two weeks ago. Can you explain in one or two sentences why conservatives thought a government shutdown and furloughing 800,000 people was a good idea?

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 5:20 PM
Comment #372060

By the way, does anyone else live in a state that was saturated with those ads of Senator Cruz, funded by the Senate Conservatives Fund (SCF)? This SCF is led by Jim DeMint. It targets Obamacare, among other things, but what makes it unusual is its willingness to attack other Senators if they fail to fall into line with the hard right agenda. This is one of the reasons Senator Cruz came under attack from other Republican senators during a GOP Senate Conference meeting a few days ago. When asked if Cruz would call off the dogs, and stop the SCF attacks on McConnell, Graham, and others, Cruz refused.

It seems Cruz and the Tea Party extremists have taken over the Republican Party. Now the government is shut down. We can only hope they do not destroy the economy over the debt ceiling.

“Even Republican allies say whatever strategy exists seems to be dictated not by the speaker, but by Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, the hard-line Republican who helped start the “Defund Obamacare” movement.

Asked what the House was doing, Representative Devin Nunes, Republican of California and a Boehner loyalist, said: “You really have to call Cruz, I’m not even joking about that. That’s really what you have to do, because he’s the one that set up the strategy, he’s the one that got us into this mess, and so we’ve got to know what the next move is.”
NYT, 10/4/13

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 5:43 PM
Comment #372061

Are there or are there not waivers granted to corporations?phx8. With over 50% of people wanting to either repeal or defund the ACA I would think granting a 1 year deferment of the laws implementation to both individual and corporations to work out the bugs as not asking much.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 5:45 PM
Comment #372062

Never seen the ad!!

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 5:47 PM
Comment #372064

There are no waivers for big corporations other than the ones built into the original legislation of 2010. Those waivers must be renewed annually, and only apply to specific situations, usually where organizations already offer a form of health care.

KAP, what state are you in? I thought all those Cruz ads in Oregon were odd, since OR is such a liberal state, but I do not know if the ads were national or local. In any case, OR seems like a highly unlikely target for the SCF to attack health care reform, with a TX Senator as serving as spokesman.

Posted by: phx8 at October 5, 2013 6:33 PM
Comment #372065


The shutdown resulted from a disagreement between Congress and President Obama. Either side can end it.

We had a shutdown in 1996. The next year, unemployment dropped to 4.7%. The year after that, we had a budget surplus. In fact we also has a shutdown in 1983 and the next year added 3.9 million jobs. But we had better leadership too.

Posted by: CJ at October 5, 2013 6:37 PM
Comment #372067

phx8, Ohio. Lets see from what I googled Unions are the big winners for waivers. And I agree totally with C&J both sides could have ended this but with the children we have running this country neither wants to give up their toys.

Posted by: Rich KAPitan at October 5, 2013 8:04 PM
Comment #372070

I say thank God for patriots like Cruz and Jim Demint; thank God for the Tea Party.

Posted by: Political Hostage at October 5, 2013 9:59 PM
Comment #372071

“This is the thirtieth anniversary of the best job growth ever in American history.”

Sorry to burst your bubble again but the September 1983 job number was a product of the way employment was and is counted. There was a 22 day strike in telephone workers that involved almost 700,000 workers nation wide. If you’re wondering how that matters let’s look at the months around there.

July 1983: +418,000

For August you’d expect to see something along those lines. What was it instead?

August 1983: -308,000

Let’s say for instance that we should have had 400,000 in August. That means the difference in jobs is 708,000 fewer. Then comes the next month when the workers return.

September 1983: +1,114,000

So let’s assume September would have been similar to 400,000 as well under normal circumstances. Subtract that 708,000 and what do you get? 406,000.

The average growth over the next 12 months after September 1983 speaks to the great strength of the recovery but it’s dishonest to pretend that we really created over a million new jobs in one month when we didn’t. It was completely the product of having a large chunk of the workforce simply drop off the roles during a labor strike only to return a month later.

“Today if we manage to create that many new jobs in a whole year the Obama folks call it a miracle and I suppose with Obama a president it would be. “

I know you’re mostly kidding on this one but let me remind folks for the record that we’ve averaged 2 million jobs a year for each of the last 3 years.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at October 5, 2013 10:33 PM
Comment #372072
We had a shutdown in 1996. The next year, unemployment dropped to 4.7%. The year after that, we had a budget surplus.

non-causa pro causa I say C&J, non-causa pro causa.

In fact we also has a shutdown in 1983 and the next year added 3.9 million jobs.

C&J such disingenuous misinformation. First of all the shutdown you refer to was in 1984 and lasted for less than a day With such dubious logic added to disingenuous misinformation your next statement “But we had better leadership too.” is laughable at best.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 5, 2013 10:42 PM
Comment #372074


We can cut it any way we want, but Reagan’s record is still great.

Obama - with a larger labor force - had his best month way back in May 2010 with 521,000, but that came from an artificial spike in temporary hiring by the Census Bureau to conduct the 2010 Census (427,000 federal jobs were added that month alone). After that, there were job losses for the next three months during the “Summer of Recovery.”

Almost much every Reagan month in the Reagan recovery is better than the best Obama could offer.

The scary part is that Obama’s best time was back in 2010, now going on four years ago. If that was the best he could do, we are in for some trouble.

Posted by: CJ at October 5, 2013 10:57 PM
Comment #372075


I am not saying the shutdown caused the great economy, but it obviously didn’t hurt.

Re leadership, Reagan on his worst day is better than Obama on his best.

Historians will credit Obama with being the first non-white president. Besides that, he will be a footnote, maybe on the order of Rutherford B Hayes, important for his place in history but not for what he really did.

Posted by: CJ at October 5, 2013 11:07 PM
Comment #372077


Feel free to admit then that the entire premise of this post is based on a misconception about the job growth in September 1983 and retire you’re usage of this month figure once and for all. You’ve cited this month before though so I don’t think you’re through with it any time soon despite the reality of it.

I agree though. The Reagan recovery amounted to nearly twice as many jobs per month as this recovery. That economy was strong indeed, but not completely through good leadership or sound judgement. Having pent up demand for cars, trucks and houses tends to accelerate the economy much more than an economy that has a broken housing market and a lack of easily available credit for making big purchase items.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at October 5, 2013 11:33 PM
Comment #372080
I am not saying the shutdown caused the great economy, but it obviously didn’t hurt.

C&J this ain’t no circus and we don’t need no clowns bud. Your theory is garbage, your logic is useless and your propaganda is foul. As it seems you base the great economy and the “leadership” of Reagan on job growth let us use facts not wishful conjecture as is your want. Carter and Nixon created more jobs than Reagan, so did Clinton. Your shameful grabbing of Clinton policy success for use by the conservative god Reagan is typical but wrong of you to do so.

Re leadership, Reagan on his worst day is better than Obama on his best.

Only in your dreams C&J. The fact is Reagan was an actor who was led around by his handlers, hell half the time he was clueless, His administration had more corruption than any since. The problem here is the bar is low with you and other conservatives C&J based upon the idolization of Reagan, after all you guys thought GWB was a good president until the wheels fell off the bus.

Obama has had a scandal free administration despite the enormous pressure exerted by Issa and his ilk. Bin Laden is dead something your boy damn sure couldn’t do, and despite the intentional obstructionism of the repubs for 6 year running we are still recovering from the conservative induced financial collapse of the GW era.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 6, 2013 12:51 AM
Comment #372081


As I said, you can look at statistics many ways. The Reagan recovery was really, really big. We had the biggest one month jump in American history. We could always reinterpret any great event.

I am currently reading a book about statistics that is talking about baseball players. Who is the greatest player of all time? According to the author, it is Babe Ruth. He has some kind of complied statistics to prove that. But he uses this example not to say that the Babe is metaphysically the best, but rather to illustrate has giving different weights and emphasis can produce different results.

I am sorry that the Obama recovery has proven an embarrassment when compared to better ones of the past. But even with your lower numbers, there are several months during the Reagan recovery that are better than the best Obama has yet produced.


Simple time line. We had a government shut down. The next year was good for the economy (better than anything thus far from Obama) and the year after that we had a surplus. I did not imply causality. But I can state categorically that the shutdown did not prevent those things from happening and I can say it with certainty because they did indeed happen.

I understand that you want to be able to blame Obama’s poor performance on others. But we still do have poor performance.

Above you want to give all credit to Clinton. I think Clinton was a good president. While I would not give him all the credit, let’s assume here that we can. Clinton obviously beat the pants off Obama. What did Clinton do right that Obama is doing wrong?

Posted by: CJ at October 6, 2013 8:09 AM
Comment #372083

You assume the problem is Obama, C&J. While the far right did attack Clinton relentlessly they still had the good of the country at heart. Times, however, have changes or better yet the powerful on the far right have changed, they have gotten more bitter, more angry and more willing to do harm to the county lately. Hell Reagan would be a moderate by the standard of the Tea Party today.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 6, 2013 9:01 AM
Comment #372084


Yeah, I know. No president has ever had the kind of opposition Obama faced. Even Lincoln had an easier time, since those Confederates eventually came around.

Obama provoked the response and continues to provoke. The leaders in his own party don’t even much like him. He lacks leadership ability. People said he was not up to the job and they were right.

Posted by: CJ at October 6, 2013 10:26 AM
Comment #372089

Having pent up demand for cars, trucks and houses tends to accelerate the economy much more than an economy that has a broken housing market and a lack of easily available credit for making big purchase items.
Posted by: Adam Ducker at October 5, 2013 11:33 PM

There is tremendous pent-up consumer demand right now in the US. There are also trillions of dollars wanting to be invested in business.

This government is standing in the way of a dramatic recovery. Government abuse and misuse of its power causes fear. Fear is the enemy of investment and capitalism.

Posted by: Royal Flush at October 6, 2013 12:42 PM
Comment #372091

C&J: “I am sorry that the Obama recovery has proven an embarrassment…”

I’m not embarrassed and I’m not sure why anyone would be. I guess maybe if I incorrectly thought it was doldrums like you do then maybe. Or maybe if I thought President Obama failed in some way when it came to working with Congress to react to the crisis.

Posted by: Adam Ducker at October 6, 2013 1:56 PM
Comment #372092


I don’t know how much we can blame Obama. I think presidents get too much credit or blame for these big macro-events. But there is no doubt that this is a really sucky (technical term) recovery. It is the worst in my lifetime. In fact you would have to be very old indeed to remember a worse time.

IMO - the TARP was necessary. We needed to stabilize the monetary system. Most of the Obama stimulus, however, was a waste. If he had simply kept with stabilizing the big things and didn’t push farther, we would be better off today.

One big reason I am conservative is that I don’t have much confidence in big actions & changes. In my own work, I try hard to do less and the irony has been that the less I do, the more that gets accomplished by my colleagues. Or maybe stated better, the more I stick to strategy and understanding the changing environment and don’t bother people with details, the better.

What I saw in Obama was a dangerous arrogance. He wanted to do things that he could not understand and that nobody could understand. He wanted to make big and quick changes to America, which is the most successful society in world history. Since I believe in gradual evolution and not quick intelligent design, I don’t believe he could be successful and that was correct.

ObamaCare seeks to reorganize a very large part of the economy. It will not work, but it will cost a lot to figure this out. The worst case scenario is that it works from a political point of view, i.e. people get used to it and like it because they don’t see the costs, but the costs do not go away. Innovation slows and it is seen as a “new normal.”

Posted by: CJ at October 6, 2013 2:09 PM
Comment #372094
Yeah, I know. No president has ever had the kind of opposition Obama faced. Even Lincoln had an easier time, since those Confederates eventually came around.

So we are off and running, running away from the issue at hand. Now it is Lincoln not Clinton or Reagan, sigh…

Obama provoked the response and continues to provoke. The leaders in his own party don’t even much like him. He lacks leadership ability. People said he was not up to the job and they were right.

Yet despite the myths, misinformation, half truths and outright lies from the extremist right he was reelected. Yet it was all him not the Tea baggers in Congress, do you guys even believe the lies you repeat so often anymore? Were you to spend more time on real answers instead of the “tell enough lies often enough and we will win” propaganda perhaps the Tea baggers in Congress wouldn’t be the laughing stock of the nation.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 6, 2013 6:11 PM
Comment #372095


I don’t think Obama had any particular problems, compared with others. His problems came from his behaviors. Obama came into office with a very, very high approval rating. He managed to lose the approval of most Americans. It is on him.

The reason I ridicule is that the idea that Obama faced unique challenges is ridiculous. He just screwed up a winning hand.

Obama was indeed reelected, the only president reelected with a smaller majority than that by which he was elected the first time and by statistically the same margin as GW Bush. Obama is a great campaigners but a poor leader. It is a flaw in our democracy that someone like him has the advantage.

Reagan faced greater challenges than Obama. He faced a hostile House, hostile press, hostile academia, not to mention a hostile Soviet Union. Yet he managed to get all those groups to work with him.

Obama faced a Congress of his own party, overwhelmingly so, a divided opposition, a supportive academia and a positively fawning press and a world so ready for his leadership that they gave him a Nobel Prize before he even started. Yet he has manged to piss off almost everybody.

It is like a guy who is dealt a royal flush losing the hand in poker. It is actually amazing that he screwed up so well. It will be the subject of future books and dissertations.

You can dislike the Tea Party if you like. They are not my people as a general rule. I am more like the RINOs they so dislike. However, they are not Obama’s nemesis. Obama is Obama’s nemesis.

He is our president for the next few years, more the pity for us.

Posted by: CJ at October 6, 2013 7:06 PM
Comment #372097
Yet he has manged to piss off almost everybody.

“Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

General Colin Powell

The rest is just repeat of myth misinformation half truths and outright lies C&J. Stuff only conservative will fall for.

But then you did manage to redirect the conversation from the fact that this article is based upon bad information with out having to accept any responsibility for the errors. We have shown you to be less than credible and all you can do is change the subject, which is sad.

Posted by: j2t2 at October 6, 2013 9:51 PM
Comment #372098


If you piss off some people, it is probably their fault. If you piss off almost everybody, it is probably your fault.

re errors - I am properly using statistics. There is no error. You are misusing the term, probably on purpose. We can discuss interpretations and the variability of the one month, but the recovery in 1983 was clearly robust, while the recovery during Obama times has been very weak.

As I wrote, if we take the best Obama month, most of the growth is the result of one-time hiring for the census. The difference is that the strongest Obama month was followed by a decline, whereas the strongest Reagan month was followed by robust growth and then by a quarter century of good times.

Posted by: CJ at October 6, 2013 10:01 PM
Comment #372099

C&J, you are confusing a mild recession with an economic collapse. You have distorted the figures for the month you claim to be the greatest. You have claimed Clintons record for Reagan! And you are using statistics correctly, really?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 6, 2013 10:30 PM
Comment #372109


I am saying that September 1983 was a great month for jobs, followed by a year that was great for jobs, followed by a quarter century of generally good economic growth and lower unemployment. You can find particular exceptions, but even those are not common. The “bad” reports during this roughly quarter century are better than the good ones of the Obama time.

Recall that unemployment was 10.4% at the start of 1983. It had peaked at 10.8% the month before. Four years later, it was 6.6% AND the labor force was growing. The worst it got under Obama was 10% in October 2009. Four years later it was 7.3% (about, we don’t know with the shutdown.) AND the labor force was shrinking making that number better.

I also don’t think we can call the recession of the early 1980s “mild”. Unemployment went higher than it did during the Obama times. Maybe we look at it as mild today because it was handled better.

RE the use of statistics - They must be interpreted, which is what I have done. Your interpretation of what they mean may be different, but the use of the word “error” is wrong.

There is no interpretation based on the statistics that would say that the Reagan recovery was not robust. And their is no interpretation that could say that the Obama recovery is anything but substandard. You can give less credit to Reagan or make excuses for Obama, but the underlying data is what it is.

BTW - I have written on many occasions that presidents get way too much credit or blame for economic affairs. I feel justified in blaming Obama because he had positioned himself to take credit for what most people thought would be a normal recovery.

Posted by: CJ at October 7, 2013 5:51 AM
Comment #372111

C&J the tile says “Best job growth ever (thirty years ago)” but you used the 700,00 jobs Adam mentioned. You also forget to mention the number of jobs lost by Reagan earlier when he deliberately put millions out of work by dramatically raising interest rates. Using exaggeration to glorify Reagan is typical but it effects credibility.

Who thought this recovery would have been a normal recovery? One has to deny the economic meltdown and claim a regular business cycle recession to make such a statement. Are you trying to juggle the numbers to make Obama responsible for the meltdown as so many other conservatives seem to believe? Or was that a given and I just didn’t pick up on it?

Posted by: j2t2 at October 7, 2013 8:39 AM
Comment #372117

The relief of austerity measures by the Federal Reserve has more to do with that recovery than conservative policies. Things were worse for longer under Reagan, but he didn’t have the banks crippled at the start by their own misbehavior, nor as many people’s finances undermined by their own debts.

Your facile attempts to pin the slow recovery on Obama ignore the underlying problems that had to develop in order for this situation to occur.

Posted by: Stephen Daugherty at October 7, 2013 1:14 PM
Comment #372134


Obama thought it would be a normal recovery. That is why they touted the summer of recovery back in 2010.

Re best ever – we have to go with the numbers. We have not done analysis on all the numbers of all the recoveries since WWII and it would become a meaningless exercise. We can compare only what we have to compare. We assume that other high numbers have caveats.

Since you brought it up, if the September 1983 numbers were not the best, what are you candidates for the best monthly improvement? Be careful, since big bounces up often follow bounces down and you would not be able to count any of those. Of course, you also could not really count big gains followed by losses, since those also were clearly not sustainable. Beyond all of that, you would have to account for population changes. For example, 100,000 new jobs in 1983 were worth about 130,000 today, given population changes.

I should point out, however, that even if you subtract the 308,000 (not 700,000 BTW) jobs lost the month before, the September 1983 figures still top the list of best months every at 806,000. You really have to torture the numbers to make it look anything less than stellar.

It is easy to parse any number, as I wrote with Obama’s best number. For example, if we include people who have left the labor force, unemployment under Obama is much higher. Yet we still say unemployment is 7.3%. And we still call it positive, even though fewer total people are working today than were working the day Obama was elected.

It is also interesting which point you choose to start. For example, President Obama has “created” five million new jobs, only when he chooses not to count those the 4.3 million jobs that were lost in the first year of Obama’s term.

Posted by: CJ at October 7, 2013 7:52 PM
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