More Bad News in June Jobs Report

In recent months, analysts have been pointing to a supposedly improved job situation for workers. Voluntary minimum wage increases at companies like Walmart allegedly pointed to an upward movement in wages due to increased competition. Workers purportedly were feeling more secure in their jobs and more willing to explore new possibilities. Despite a first quarter slide in economic growth, the economy was apparently poised to bounce back. The proverbial ‘rosy scenario’ was finally appearing on the horizon.

Much of this optimism, however, was surprising news to the middle class, and today’s jobs report showed why. The headline — 220,000 new jobs and the unemployment rate dropping to 5.3 percent — appeared to confirm the ‘rosy scenario.’ Yet the underlying data present a very different story. These numbers point to an enduring fact of this so-called ‘recovery’ — the middle class has been left behind.

For example, the 220,000 new jobs in June sound like a step towards real improvement. However, when combined with the downward revision of 60,000 over the previous two months, the net creation is only about 160,000. In fact, the average monthly job growth so far this year (208,000) is far below the average in 2014 (260,000). That is hardly anything to write home about and certainly doesn’t deserve glowing media headlines.

Unemployment appears to have fallen, but mostly for the wrong reasons. The underlying numbers reveal a large drop off in people employed or looking for work—more than 400,000 —accounting for much of the decline in the unemployment rate. Continue Reading

There Is Less to the Employment Numbers Than Meets the Eye

Photo credit: Ken Teegardin via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Today’s headlines trumpet the gain of 280,000 jobs in May and the additional 32,000 jobs in the previous two months.  This good news, however, masks the disappointing numbers that come hand in hand. Even with today’s increases, the average monthly job creation in 2015 is only 217,000, which is far lower than the nearly 260,000 last year. That said, job creation remains sluggish at best.

Additionally, the labor force participation rate of 62.9 percent remains at the average it was last year. In fact, it is still over 3 percent lower than it was at the beginning of the financial crisis, and roughly where it was at the height of the Great Inflation of the late 1970s. Also, the unemployment rate rose to 5.5 percent. This increase was caused by May’s labor force rising by 85,000 more people than the combined May job increase plus March and April’s revision. That fact further illustrates that job creation is not even keeping up with the growth in the labor force. That said, despite the apparent jump in jobs, more people were unemployed. The average workweek remains stuck at 34.5 hours, as it has been for the past four years.

When all of these numbers are taken into account, it paints a much fuller picture of the serious crisis in the job market.  Despite pumping more than $3.5 trillion into the economy and keeping interest rates at historic lows, the Federal Reserve’s policy appears to have failed. Continue Reading

Another Jobs Report, Another Disappointment

Unemployed workers line up at a state office in California (public domain photo via FEMA)

The headlines today don’t tell the whole story. While 223,000 new jobs in April sound like a positive development for our economy, the cold, harsh reality is that millions of Americans are still struggling to find work—and those who are lucky enough to be working are facing stagnant wages amidst rising prices.

It is disingenuous to say that the unemployment rate is truly 5.4 percent. That number fails to account for those who have given up looking for work—a cohort that is now higher than it has ever been before. When you add those people to the equation, the unemployment number is much closer to 11 percent.

The workforce participation rate, just 62.8 percent, is hovering near its lowest level since the late 1970s. Even among the prime 25-54 age group, the number remains unfathomably low. That means that millions of Americans have simply given up trying to find a job—no wonder the unemployment rate has fallen.

Where’s the recovery for these unemployed workers?  Once again, the current discretionary monetary policy of the Federal Reserve System has failed to provide a sustained boost to our economy, creating only uncertainty. The Fed obviously doesn’t know what to do from here. The market is unsure what to expect.

There has to be a better way to conduct monetary policy. Congress must introduce and pass the Monetary Commission bill. Americans deserve equitable prosperity, not growing economic disparity. Let’s fix the dollar. Continue Reading

More Americans Not Working

Unemployed workers line up at a state office in California (public domain photo via FEMA)

While most of the media is praising the February jobs report, highlighting 295,000 jobs added and a dip in the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent, it is clear that the true numbers do not demonstrate an economic recovery.

From CNS News:

The labor force participation rate declined to 62.8 percent in February, while another 92,898,000 Americans were not in the labor force, according to data released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) on Friday.

The participation rate, which is the percentage of the civilian noninstitutional population who participated in the labor force by either having a job during the month or actively seeking one, was 62.8 percent in February which matches the percentage since March 1978.

In February, according to BLS, the nation’s civilian noninstitutional population, consisting of all people 16 or older who were not in the military or an institution, reached 249,899,000. Of those, 157,002,000 participated in the labor force by either holding a job or actively seeking one.

The 157,002,000 who participated in the labor force was 62.8 percent of the 249,899,000 civilian noninsttutional population, which matches the 62.8 percent rate in April, May, June, and October of 2014 as well as the participation rate in March of 1978. The participation rate hit its lowest level of 62.7 percent in September and December of 2014.

Americans know the economy hasn’t really recovered, despite what they are told on TV. Republican candidates should continue to hammer away on the failed policies of the left and how they have hurt working families. Continue Reading