After a Year of Copy and Paste, the White House Changes Its Message on Monthly Jobs Numbers

Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  
National Journal
Matt Vasilogambros
Matt Vasilogambros
Sept. 6, 2013, 8:12 a.m.

Jason Fur­man just star­ted as the chair­man of the White House Coun­cil of Eco­nom­ic Ad­visers, and he’s already mix­ing things up.

Two months ago, I re­por­ted that then-Chair­man Alan Krueger opened up each of­fi­cial White House state­ment on the monthly jobs re­ports in the ex­act same fash­ion every month since Ju­ly 2012. His last state­ment be­fore leav­ing the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion con­tained that same word­ing as well, mak­ing it an en­tire year without chan­ging the of­fi­cial re­ac­tion.

The state­ment read:

While more work re­mains to be done, today’s em­ploy­ment re­port provides fur­ther con­firm­a­tion that the U.S. eco­nomy is con­tinu­ing to re­cov­er from the worst down­turn since the Great De­pres­sion. It is crit­ic­al that we re­main fo­cused on pur­su­ing policies to speed job cre­ation and ex­pand the middle class, as we con­tin­ue to dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe re­ces­sion that began in Decem­ber 2007.

And here’s what the design looked like:

This wasn’t to say that Krueger was lazy. In fair­ness, the ad­min­is­tra­tion wanted to keep its po­s­i­tion con­sist­ent. After all, if it isn’t broke, why fix it? 

Now, here’s the re­port that Fur­man re­leased on Fri­day:

 

The dif­fer­ence is stag­ger­ing. Not only are there five charts, but the mes­sage com­ing from the ad­min­is­tra­tion has changed as well. It reads:

Over the last four years, we’ve cleared away the rubble from the fin­an­cial crisis and be­gun to lay a new found­a­tion for stronger, more dur­able eco­nom­ic growth. With con­tin­ued sol­id job gains, today’s em­ploy­ment re­port is an­oth­er sign of pro­gress, but we must con­tin­ue to pur­sue policies that move our eco­nomy for­ward and re­store middle class se­cur­ity.

This might be part of a new strategy by the ad­min­is­tra­tion to ex­plain the eco­nomy bet­ter to the Amer­ic­an people. As com­pared to pre­vi­ous state­ments, this breaks down and ex­plains im­prove­ment in dif­fer­ent sec­tions of the eco­nomy. And while the re­cov­ery has been slower than most would have liked, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion is at­tempt­ing to take cred­it for the pro­gress.

If Fur­man con­tin­ues with this new strategy, it could im­prove the over­all out­look of the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s role in the re­cov­ery.

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