Jobs: A Fourth Straight Spring and Summer Bummer
For most Americans, the arrival of spring means rising temperatures, the reemergence of green grass (and weeds), and a return to outdoor activities. It also appears, for the fourth year in a row, that spring's arrival will be accompanied by yet another swoon in the nation's job market.
Wrapping up a week during which several "unexpectedly" weak economic reports previewed trouble ahead, the government's March Employment Situation Summary released on Friday was the strongest indication yet that -- as was the case in 2010, 2011, and 2012 -- somewhat tolerable seasonally adjusted job growth during the winter will be followed by tepid spring and summer hiring.
This time, as a well-known Democrat amazingly noted on Sunday, President Barack Obama, his administration, fear-mongering leftists, and their sky-is-falling media apparatchiks shouldn't be able to hide from the direct results of their handiwork -- though of course they'll try mightily.
To see how bad things are, as is my custom -- and as should be the custom of anyone who's really trying to get a handle on what's happening in the economy -- let's look at both the raw (i.e., not seasonally adjusted) and seasonally adjusted figures for overall job growth since 2001:
As I noted in a column last year, the five months from February through June are crucial for employment growth in the U.S. economy, because that's typically when millions more people are hired than are let go. The more economically robust years during the middle of the past decade saw the economy add an annual average of 4.099 million jobs during those five months, despite the fact that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was barely above what is, for the U.S., considered full employment.
As seen above, despite horrid unemployment, vastly underreported under-employment, and assurances that the Obama administration's "stimulus"-driven policies would lead to a strong recovery, the average of the February-June time periods from 2010-2012 was more than 200,000 jobs lower than was seen during the previous decade's three strong years.
As I wrote last year: "An authentically recovering economy making a real dent in a horribly underutilized workforce should generate six million jobs on the ground" during these five months. Obviously, it has never come even close.