Saved by the Bell?

Joe's picture

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.

October 3, 2014

Stronger-than-Anticipated BLS September Jobs Report May Influence November Elections, Boost Sagging Stock Market

Just in the nick of time for the November mid-term elections and for propping up the sagging stock market, the September Bureau of Labor Statistics not coincidentally released a better-than-anticipated jobs report. The economy added 248,000 jobs last month, about 50,000 more than predicted, and the unemployment rate dropped to 5.9 percent from last month’s 6.1 percent. The next BLS report will be November 7, three days after the elections.

Jobs report better than anticipated
Nearly one in five Americans was laid-off during the past five years.

In anticipation of the BLS data, President Obama spoke at Northwestern University yesterday to tout his administration’s economic successes. Obama told his audience that “When I took office, businesses were laying off 800,000 Americans a month. Today, our businesses are hiring 200,000 Americans a month. The unemployment rate has come down from a high of 10 percent in 2009 to 6.1 percent today. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have created 10 million new jobs – the largest uninterrupted stretch of private sector job creation in our history.”

Superficially, Obama’s story sounds good. But it’s deceiving. Barry Bosworth, a Brookings Institute senior fellow, calculates that to keep up with population growth, between 80,000 to 100,000 jobs are required. Bosworth summed up what most of us already know – that unemployment has declined because potential employees have left the job market, too depressed by either low wages or too few management opportunities. Despite the addition of 10 million jobs since 2009, the nation still has about 10 million jobless Americans.

While the BLS reports may indicate a slightly improved economy, there’s too much evidence on the ground that proves that the nation is still suffering from depressed conditions: miniscule wage growth, a penny-per-hour higher this month than last to an average of $24.53, and continued low labor participation rates which in September dipped from 62.8 percent to 62.7 percent. The employment-population ratio remained at 59 percent for the fourth consecutive month.

Too measure how little credibility the BLS should be given, consider the Rutgers University’s John J. Heldrich Center for Workforce Development study which found that during the last five years, one in five Americans has lost a job. Of those, 22 percent are still unemployed. Nearly 40 percent said it took them more than seven months to find employment, and one in five among the laid-off settled for a temporary job.

The Rutgers’ survey also revealed that nearly half of the long-term unemployed predict it will take three to 10 years for their families to recover financially, while one in five says it will take longer than ten years, or expects never to recover.

Although after analyzing the September statistics there’s a strong argument against President Obama’s promised executive amnesty that would give work authorization to at least 5 million aliens (currently unemployable because of their unlawful immigration status), the President has given every indication that he’ll proceed. Speaking at a Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute gala, Obama pledged that his unilateral amnesty would take place “between the November elections and the end of the year.”

Please go to the CAPS’ Action Alert page here to tell Congress to block presidential amnesty actions.

Categories: 

CAPS blog posts may be republished or reposted only in their entirety. Please credit CAPS as www.capsweb.org. CAPS assumes no responsibility for where blog posts might be republished or reposted. Views expressed in CAPS blog posts do not necessarily reflect the official position of CAPS.

Top