President Obama shakes hands with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Nayef in the Oval Office. The Saudi delegation is meeting with President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden as part of this week’s meetings with delegations from the Gulf Cooperation Council
1. The private sector has added 10 million jobs over 54 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 142,000 in August, mainly reflecting a 134,000 increase in private employment. Private-sector job growth was revised up for July and down for June for little total revisions. Over the past twelve months, private employment has risen by a total of 2.4 million.
3. The last time the economy added 10 million private-sector jobs over four-and-a-half years was November 1996 to April 2001. There are some notable differences between the current stretch of job gains and the one that began in 1996. In particular, the manufacturing sector has added more than 700,000 jobs over the last four-and-a-half years, while it lost more than 400,000 jobs during the 1996-2001 period. 4. On a not-seasonally-adjusted basis, local government educational services employment rose by more than 200,000 in August, continuing a recent trend that has seen an increasing number of these employees return to work before September.
MarketWatch: U.S. Manufacturers Surge Again In August, ISM Finds
U.S. manufacturing companies grew in August at the fastest pace since March 2011, a survey of executives found. The Institute for Supply Management said its manufacturing index climbed to 59% last month from 57.1% in July. That easily beat the 56.1% forecast of economists surveyed by MarketWatch. Readings over 50% indicate more companies are expanding instead of shrinking.
Bloomberg: Chrysler Luring Toyota Owners Helps Lift U.S. Share
Chrysler is on an unprecedented winning streak. As Jeep benefits from consumers’ renewed attraction to SUVs, the company also has been aided by strong demand for Ram pickups and Town & Country minivans. That helped propel its U.S. sales up 12 percent last month, the largest increase of any major automaker, according to the average of eight analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg. That would be Chrysler’s 53rd straight month of rising sales — about 4 1/2 years — after almost being given up for dead before its government-sponsored bankruptcy in 2009.
Bloomberg: Saudi Arabia Oil Sales To U.S. Imperiled By Shale Boom
After years of keeping the price of crude sold to the U.S. low enough to maintain market share, Saudi Arabia is losing ground as the shale boom leaves U.S. refiners with ample supplies of inexpensive domestic oil. Arab Light crude for sale in the U.S. averaged 48 cents a barrel less than Light Louisiana Sweet, a Gulf Coast benchmark, in August, the narrowest discount in data compiled by Bloomberg back to 1991.
The U.S. imported 878,000 barrels of Saudi crude a day in the first four weeks of August, the least since 2009. Shale drilling has boosted U.S. oil output to the highest level since 1986. As refineries turn to lower-priced domestic oil to make fuel at a record pace, the Saudis and other foreign suppliers are left with dwindling slices of the market. In June, imports from Saudi Arabia accounted for the smallest share of crude processed at U.S. refineries since February 2010.
Jeffry Bartash: U.S. Factory Orders Jump 10.5% In July On Aircraft Contracts
Orders for goods produced in U.S. factories leaped 10.5% higher in July, as expected, owing to a big surge in contracts for commercial aircraft, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch had expected orders to climb nearly 11%. Factory orders also rose by a revised 1.5% in June instead of 1.1% as initially reported.
…. Predictably, Republicans are in an uproar over the latest tweak to the Obamcare signups — an extension of the March 31 deadline for people who say that they tried to apply but encountered technical difficulty. As Jonathan Cohn says, the real objection here seems to be not so much that Obama is overstepping his bounds as that this will make it possible for more people to get insurance.
But I also have the sense that people in the GOP are still working with a completely wrong narrative — namely, that Obamacare is failing, and that these are desperate ploys to save a sinking ship. The reality is quite different: enrollments have clearly surged in the final month. Charles Gaba is now projecting 6.4 million through the exchanges, and many more directly purchased from insurers.
…. How will the GOP respond when the numbers come in? … There really isn’t any room in their worldview for the possibility that this thing might work.
National Journal: Obamacare’s Invisible Victory – Why the total enrollment number is actually bigger than you think.
Obamacare friends and foes alike are eagerly watching the law’s insurance-enrollment tally, ready to trumpet every success or pounce on every failure.
But as the final figures before the end of open enrollment are posted, a significant chunk of people who bought insurance under the law will be missing from the official tally.
That’s because people who bought insurance directly from insurers, and not through the law’s exchanges, will not be included. And just how many people that represents is a figure that will not be available in time for the big enrollment-total reveal — and likely not for a long time after.
Off-exchange enrollment is the forgotten piece of the Affordable Care Act, but it could represent millions of people who are also getting covered as a result of the health care law — many of whom are the young, healthy customers the administration is so aggressively pursuing.
Brian Beutler: Tragedy for Republicans: More people will be getting health insurance!
Putting it out there now: By May 1, enrollment in ACA-compliant health plans through federally facilitated and state-based exchanges will hit the symbolic 7 million mark, and conservatives will whine that it doesn’t count because something something.
…. My confidence stems from the Obama administration’s decision, announced Wednesday, to create a grace period of sorts for people who have attempted to apply for coverage on healthcare.gov but got sidelined along the way.
This would annoy and delight conservatives under any circumstances, just as every Obamacare delay and exception annoys and delights conservatives. But what genuinely pisses them off in this circumstance is that the administration has set up a system that’s deliberately easy to game, for the purposes of increasing enrollment.
The spirit of the extension is to give people who’ve already begun the process by March 31 a small amount of time to complete their unfinished applications, and to insure against the possibility that the system gets clogged up on the last couple days of the month. Administration officials, via Jonathan Cohn, compare this to making sure that people who are still in line when their polling places close are allowed to vote.
…. It’s easy to forget, but this seemed like a pipe dream last fall. In October, the first month of the open-enrollment period, just 106,185 consumers signed up for insurance through an exchange – causing Republicans to not only celebrate, but to openly mock the system by noting a variety of sports venues that hold more than 106,185 attendees.
It was obviously proof, we were told at the time, that the Affordable Care Act itself was “hurtling toward failure.”
The enrollment totals must seem literally unbelievable to Republicans, who managed to convince one another that the ACA is not only catastrophically flawed, but on an inevitable road towards imploding ….as Paul Krugman noted earlier today, “How will the GOP respond when the numbers come in?”
I don’t know the answer to that question, but I suspect it’ll have something to do with Benghazi.
ThinkProgress: 12 Times Republicans Claimed Nobody Would Sign Up For Obamacare
President Obama’s announcement on Thursday that six million people signed-up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act — meeting and exceeding the administration’s deadline days before the March 31st enrollment period — undermines critics who seized on the law’s troubled early rollout to predict that measure could never attract enough Americans to succeed. Below are some of the worst predictions after the administration published the first enrollment figures in November of 2013:
After the decision was made to intervene militarily in Libya, some pundits made the case that an Obama Doctrine was evident and called it “leading from behind.” I’d suggest that is a small part of an emerging Obama Doctrine – but not the heart of things. As the President openly takes the lead on responding to the situation in the Ukraine, we can see how flawed it was.
Watching President Obama deal with various foreign policy challenges over the last year, a much more comprehensive view of how he approaches these things is evident. His North Star when it comes to evaluating situations and developing a strategy to deal with them is three-fold.
President Obama will host the U.S. Winter Olympics and Paralympics teams next week at the White House.
The event will be Thursday, April 3.
The president and first lady Michelle Obama “will congratulate the Olympians and Paralympians on their performance and thank them for representing the United States during the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia,” says the White House.
Look away now mother: President Obama leaving Italy this morning.
On This Day:
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) smiles as he holds a baby following his speech to supporters at Soldiers and Sailors Military Museum and Memorial in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh at the kick off his bus tour of Pennsylvania on March 28, 2008
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) speaks to supporters during a campaign rally at the Fort Worth Convention Center in Fort Worth, Texas February 28, 2008. More than 11,000 people attended the event, his third of the day
President Obama arrives at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010, after an all-night secret flight on Air Force One. He was met by U.S. Ambassdor Karl Eikenberry and Gen. Stanley McChrystal, both at left (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the Presidential Palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, March 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama waves to U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama greets U.S. troops at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama meets with U.S. Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, left, and Gen. Stanley McChrystal at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, March 28, 2010 (Photo by Pete Souza)
President Obama speaks at a town hall meeting hosted by Univision at Bell Multicultural High School in Washington, D.C., March 28. 2011 (Photo by Pete Souza)
A supporter holds a sign in front of the U.S. Supreme Court as the court hears it’s third day of arguments on the constitutionality of President Obama’s health care bill in Washington, D.C. on March 28, 2012
President Obama hugs a member of a group of mothers who are for tougher gun laws after delivering remarks on gun violence during an event in the East Room at the White House on March 28, 2013