March Bureau of Labor Statistics Report Masks Rough Economic Sailing Ahead

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

April 1, 2016
From the report: 215,000 new jobs, but as usual many in part-time or low-paying sectors like retail, construction and health care while better paying jobs in manufacturing and mining remained in the doldrums. The labor participation rate inched up to 63 percent but remained at near a 30-year low, while the meaningless unemployment rate also ticked up to 5 percent from last month’s 4.9 percent.
 
boat on heavy seas
      U.S. economy cannot absorb more legal immigrant workers without sinking Americans.
 
 
A modicum of good news: average hourly earnings rose .07 cents last month to $25.43. While a tiny step in the right direction, few workers will make major durable goods purchases based on seven cents an hour more in their weekly paycheck. Assuming the March average workweek of 34.4 hours, seven cents translates to $2.40 weekly, about $10 a month, not enough to buy a pizza or a movie ticket.
 
But insight from the invaluable, nonpartisan ZeroHedge.com website paints the true and scary picture about the job market. When the number of working age Americans age 23-54 that are officially unemployed, 8.2 million, is added to the number of working-age Americans considered not in the labor force, 94.3 million, then 102.5 million working-age Americans are currently unemployed, 23 percent of the adult population in their prime working years.
 
Despite the White House hype, the United States hasn’t had the economic recovery that Wall Street touts. The U.S. is in the early stages of a massive economic downturn becausedebt-fueled prosperity has provided us with a massively inflated standard of living that is not even close to sustainable. As this bubble bursts, the economic pain is going to be absolutely unprecedented.” Among the ticking time bombs: an eroding middle class, exploding poverty and massive credit card debt. Read, if you dare, about the entire minefield here.
 
The March BLS report underlines – again – the economic foolishness of the Obama administration’s relentless pursuit through the Supreme Court of granting employment authorization documents to more than four million illegal immigrants and inviting a new wave of Syrian and Iraqi refugees who would also automatically get work permits. More employable immigrants added to the existing legal immigrant quota of more than one million annually increases job competition for the increasingly few opportunities, and decreases the likelihood of unemployed Americans landing a job.
 
Unlike trade, Cuba and Iran, Obama doesn’t want to include protecting Americans from job displacement as part of his legacy.
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