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The PJ Tatler

Rick Moran


March 9, 2013 - 5:40 am

There are actually a few on the left who are excited about the February jobs report which saw 236,000 jobs added and the unemployment rate drop to 7.7%. Most, however, are as glum as the rest of us.

Campaign for America’s Future:

February’s numbers were better than the average job creation for the previous three months. But don’t break out the bubbly. We are still in a debilitating jobs recession. As these charts show, while corporate profits and the stock market are setting records, we still have 3 million fewer jobs than we had at the start of the recession. In a typical post-war recovery, the U.S. economy now would have had about 10 million more jobs than at the recession’s start.

The BLS statistics reflect this gloomy reality. There are still more than 20 million people in need of full-time work. Of those, 40.2 percent remain long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more). February’s job growth did not budge the low employment-population ratio of 58.6 percent. At 13.8 percent, African-American unemployment remains more than twice the level of that of whites.

The election is over. No need to spin the bad news. Time to face reality and reach the conclusion that AEI’s James Pethokoukis has reached:

Now here’s some of what those headline numbers miss:

1. In January 2009, Team Obama economists predicted that the unemployment rate by 2013 would be 5.1% (and the economy would be booming at 4% annual growth). Heck, even without the stimulus, they thought the jobless rate would be down to 5.5%. That’s a big miss.

2. The labor force participation rate fell again as potential workers stopped looking for work. If the LFP rate was just where it was a year ago, in February 2012, the official unemployment rate would 8.3%. And if the LFP rate was where it was in January 2009, the unemployment rate would be 10.8%. Does the the aging of the US workforce make that 2009 number less relevant? Probably. But have demographics changed that radically over the past 12 months? Doubtful.

3. The February U-6 number, the broadest measure of unemployment and underemployment, was down a tick to 14.3%. This probably gives a better feel for the real state of the labor market.

4. During the past three months, the economy has added an average of 191,000 jobs. At that pace, according to the Jobs Gap calculator from the Hamilton Project, it would take 101 months to return to pre-Great Recession employment levels while also absorbing the people who enter the labor force each month. Oh, and that calculation assumes no recessions between now and late 2021.

5. The share of the unemployed out of work for 27 weeks or longer increased to 40.2% from 38.1% in January.

6. The employment-population ratio is exactly where it was a year ago, at an almost rock-bottom 58.6%.

The bottom line here is that the US labor market is treading water at best, with the falling labor force participation rate number hiding that sorry reality. To get excited about these jobs numbers really is to embrace the slow-growth New Normal reality. The economy continues to grow too slowly to really crank up the American Job Machine. Boosting growth in smart, supply-side way should be the top priority of the White House and Congress.

It’ll never happen, James.

Meanwhile, Market Watch has some interesting facts and figures about part-time work:

According to the household survey (on which the unemployment rate is based), the economy added a healthy 170,000 jobs. The survey also shows a tremendous increase of 446,000 part-time jobs.

What this means is that the economy actually shed 276,000 full-time jobs.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics labeled those 446,000 part-time jobs as “voluntary,” but I am not so sure.

A Gallup survey on jobs released Thursday shows the percentage of workers working part time but wanting full-time work was 10.1% in February, an increase from 9.6% in January and the highest rate measured since January 2012.

Gallup notes “Although fewer people are unemployed now than a year ago, they are not migrating to full-time jobs for an employer. In fact, fewer Americans are working full-time for an employer than were doing so a year ago, and more Americans are working part time.

Although part-time work is clearly better than no work at all, these are not the types of good jobs that millions of Americans are still searching for.

Obamacare is in play. Recall that under Obamacare, the definition of full-time employment is 30 hours. The BLS cutoff is 34 hours. At 30 hours, companies gave to pay medical benefits so they have been slashing the number of hours people work. This reduced the number of hours people worked and provided an incentive for many to take on an extra job.

We can see the effect in actual BLS data.

After declining for years, the percentage of those working two or more jobs is again on the rise.

In the past month there was a surge of 679,000 in the number of people working multiple jobs. The seasonally-adjusted increase was 340,000. (Emphasis added)

This is the new normal US economy; a part-time, shrinking workforce with manufacturing and other well-paying jobs disappearing and many forced to work multiple jobs just to keep their heads above water.

You cannot continue to blame all of this on the financial meltdown of 2008 and the housing crash. Profits and the stock market are way up. Businesses have indeed, recovered.

But President Obama’s policies have made it too expensive, too risky, to hire additional workers and have even forced companies in some industries to eliminate full time jobs in favor of part-time employment. This trend is only going to continue throughout the year as the full impact of Obamacare begins to have its effect on the economy.

Rick Moran is PJ Media's Chicago editor and Blog editor at The American Thinker. He is also host of the"RINO Hour of Power" on Blog Talk Radio. His own blog is Right Wing Nut House.

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The loss of those millions of manufacturing jobs due to "free trade" is a major reason the economy is in the shape it is. The Free Traders thought that actually making things was passe, 19 century guff. Design, engineering and making up stuff like games, music and movies to put on those devices, that's where the money was. Notice they neglected the necessity of having devices in that idea. Remember how Clinton said all those people losing their jobs would be retrained as engineers and laboratory workers? That also conveniently overlooked the fact that only a few engineers are needed to do the design work, especially since computers have made it so much easier by doing vast amounts of the grunt work.

Something else they forget: R&D and design works best when it is done near the production floor so the engineers can confer with the production engineers to refine the things. Manufacturing is mostly in China now. Guess where the R&D and engineers are slowly but surely moving?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This has to be the biggest oxymoron in US's history:"Spending Our Way to Prosperity!"
Clearly there are two America's in 2013. One is dominated by both the crony-capitalists and We The Elite People of culture of corruption in Washington DC vs. We The People ("the great unwashed").
Is there proof of this? Of course! Market Watch (reported by Wallace Witkowski) February 7,2013, that an S&P 500 chart appears to be repeating history. S & P 500 has something downright eerie about the five-year patterns of the S&P 500 Index /quotes/zigman/3870025SPX+0.18% in a chart put together by RandyFrederick, managing director of active trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab. Frederick took S&P 500’s five-year chart- from Jan. 2, 2003 through Dec. 31, 2007- compared it with S&P 500 since Jan. 2, 2009. What results is a remarkably similar climb from the 900s to the 1500s, except the current climb takes nine months less and gets (what appears to be) some quantitative easing turbocharging. The S&P 500 set an all-time high of 1,576.09 on Oct. 11, 2007,and a closing high of 1,565.15 on Oct. 9, 2007.
While the S&P 500 was down below 700 less than 17 months later, Frederick thinks it’ll be different this time around:
1) Interest rates are much lower than they were in 2008 (anybody getting a loan lately?Why are foreclosure rates the highest ever?), almost a 42 million increase in government assistance program participants since 2007 (for a total estimated 95 million Americans on some form of assistance),
2)The housing market is in a recovery rather than in a bubble (residential real estate market according to Bloomberg TV on 3/8/2013 was down 26% in February 2013, inventory of existing unsold homes is still at an all time high some 4 million or so),
3)P/E ratios are lower, and while unemployment is higher Labor Department report on 3/8/2013 = 7.7% down from averages of 2012 and construction still at an all time high of 15.8%. Still, Blacks, Hispanics and Asians have the highest unemployment rates.
4)manufacturing jobs are beginning to return from 2008′s migration overseas, he said (this has to be the biggest myth of all). Some 128 coal fired electrical producing plants are slated for closing in 2013. More "green energy" business failures have happened and are happening. American businesses having "outsourced" some 56% of it's manufacturing capacity, continues to do so today (GM, for example and their Cadillac division).
In conclusion! We The Elite People of culture of corruption in Washington DC firmly believe "America is on the right path!" We The People look at all other countries in the world having tried exactly these same economic "flim-flammery" and "smoke-and-mirrors" economic/political policies and they're in worse conditions than Our USA. These Washington DC crony-capitalist's believe wholeheartedly somehow America is "The Magical Kingdom" and America has a new miracle economic/political paradigm..."spend Our way to prosperity"! Surely, this is madness!God Bless America! Pray. Amen. She's on Life Support.
1 year ago
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