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

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Jason Furman, the chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers.  
National Journal
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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