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Job growth better than reported

| Thursday, Aug. 12, 2004

The Kerry campaign has been making much hay over the "disappointing" July jobs numbers. The economy hasn't "turned the corner," as President Bush claims, but has done a "U-turn," John Kerry said. It's an easy assertion to make -- if one uses the statistics selectively.

Businesses, about 400,000 total, reported the creation of 32,000 net payroll jobs last month, far below government projections. But the survey represents only about one-third of all employers. Not included are the self-employed, farm employment and start-up businesses.

The households survey, which includes those categories, interviews 60,000 individuals. And it found the total number of Americans working in July grew by a robust 629,000, 19.6 times the numbers found in the business survey.

It's a figure you'd have a difficult time finding in most media accounts.

Yes, big businesses are reluctant to hire when they feel uncertain about the economy. And it's clear they now do. But productivity continues to be quite high. That said, the fact that the household survey shows healthy growth is indicative of burgeoning optimism.

Mr. Kerry promises better. But it's difficult to see how he can deliver, considering most of the Kerry economic "plan" revolves around the typical Democratic smoke and mirrors. The National Taxpayer Union says Kerry's plan would increase federal net spending by $6,066 for each and every taxpayer over four years.

Translation: John Kerry says he'll help Americans by robbing them.

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