The December jobs report was a big miss, with just 199,000 new jobs — less than half the expected 422,000.
The wheezing U.S. economy, choking on inflation and reduced energy production, saw its biggest gains in the low-paying leisure and hospitality industries.
Unemployment “dropped” to 3.9%, better than the predicted 4.1%. But the labor participation rate remains a dismal 61.9%, still down from a pre-pandemic high of 63.4%.
The economy is fully recovered and has been for months. But the jobs are struggling to come back.
Overall, the U.S. labor market is short of 3.6 million jobs from the April 2020 peak, and it’s largely minorities feeling the squeeze of Bidenomics:
A more encompassing measure of unemployment that includes discouraged workers and those holding part-time jobs for economic reasons slid to 7.3%, down 0.4 percentage point. Though the overall jobless rates fell, unemployment for Blacks spiked during the month, rising to 7.1% from 6.5%.
Wages were up an impressive 4.7% for 2021 as a whole, but not after taking inflation into account. Inflation ran at about 6.8% last year (December has yet to be calculated), meaning real wages are actually down two points.
In other words, if you got a 5% raise last year, congratulations: You’re only slightly poorer than you were before.
I read three major stories on today’s jobs report — from Business Insider, Reuters, and CNBC — and not one of them bothered to inform readers about the real toll inflation is taking.
Business Insider even went so far as to say that the report “hints we’re in an economic boom,” but again without factoring in the effects of inflation. Inflation feels good at first, as everyone enjoys the easy money. It’s only later that the hangover kicks in.
Of course, Team Biden will blame today’s lame jobs report on those evil Republicans (plus Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema) who keep blocking the passage of Build Back Better.
But is a heavy dose of debt, regulation, entitlement, and inflation what this economy needs right now?