All Quiet on the Economic Front, Which Is Good News for Clinton

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The August jobs report would have made Goldilocks happy: It was not too hot, not too cold — just right!Photo: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg via Getty Images

If you didn’t hear a lot of noise about the August jobs report released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning, you heard some good news for Hillary Clinton.

It was by all accounts the kind of jobs report Goldilocks might prefer — not too hot, not too cold, just right for economic stability. A net gain of 151,000 new jobs; unemployment rate unchanged; workforce participation unchanged; a slight increase in wages. The word unchanged repeated throughout the report was balm to the ears of anyone wanting things to stay quiet on the economic front, which includes those in the camp of the front-running presidential candidate of the party currently controlling the White House.

The good news goes beyond the absence of anything obviously disturbing. As the New York Times’ Neil Irwin points out, the lack of any sign of economic overheating should put paid to concerns that the Federal Reserve Board might go ahead and implement a long-planned interest-rate hike later this month:

[T]he new jobs numbers point to an economic recovery that is stable, steady and not entering a danger zone that might prompt the Fed to worry too much about being behind the curve on interest rate hikes. Ms. Yellen, and the traders who obsess over her every move, should plan to enjoy the long weekend.

There will be two more jobs reports between now and Election Day, but unless something big and weird is in them, they will likely have little or no effect on voters who don’t follow economic news, have already made up their minds about the trajectory of the economy, have already chosen a presidential candidate, or indeed, have already voted early.

The only other scheduled economic news that could roil markets and thus get the attention of a broader audience is the first estimate of third-quarter GDP, but (a) it’s likely to be a better number than second-quarter GDP, and (b) won’t be released until October 28.

Never say never: Lest we forget, the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy filing that signaled the arrival of a fullfledged global financial crisis did not occur until September 15, 2008.

But the odds are increasingly high that we should remove shocking economic news from the menu of “black swan” events that supporters of Donald Trump hope could suddenly upend the trajectory of the presidential contest.