Obama bundler: jobs report ‘pretty disappointing’


Obama bundler Roger Altman said the BLS job report released Friday was “pretty disappointing” and that the health of the labor markets remains “profoundly weak” in a Bloomberg interview. Altman was a deputy Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration and a senior economic adviser to 2004 Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry,

ROGER ALTMAN: Betty, I think it’s a pretty disappointing number. If you widen out the lens, we need 200,000 to 250,000 jobs to really make this, or to really illustrate that this is a healthy and strong recovery. We’re nowhere near that. This number, in contrast, confirms the idea of a bit of a pause in the recovery. It’s consistent with the 2.2 percent—the weak 2.2 percent real GDP we saw for the first quarter. I also don’t think that the unemployment rate is a particularly good measure right now of the health of labor markets. I think you have to look, again, more widely at the labor participation rate, and the unemployment to population ratio. Both of those have recovered far less—almost, very little actually—than the unemployment rate, so of course the unemployment rate is going to fall if the work force shrinks, but that’s not a good measure of the health of labor markets, which remain profoundly weak. We lost 8.8 million jobs since the onset of the recession—we’ve only gained back about 3 million of those. So, this isn’t the number that anyone would want to see. Sure, there are a few bright spots, but they’re few and far between.