Zero New August Jobs; Zero Hope for Unemployed Americans

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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, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 8, 2011

The great old refrain "I’ve been down so long it looks like up to me" should become the nation’s new unofficial anthem.

According to the September 6th Californians for Population Stabilization lead website story, the state’s unemployment level has fallen to an all time low. The Sacramento-based California Budget Project reported that just 55.4 percent of working-age Californians, those 16 or older, held a job in July, down from 56.2 percent a year earlier and the lowest level in 35 years.

California’s 12 percent July unemployment rate remains the nation’s second-highest after Nevada’s 12.9 percent and is about 3 percentage points higher than the national 9.1 percent average. California lost 1.4 million jobs (and regained only 226,800) during the recession that began in 2008 and persists today. Employment may not return to pre-recession levels until 2015 or later predicted Alissa Anderson, the California Budget Plan’s deputy director.

Nationwide black unemployment is also at its highest level, 16.7 percent in August, since President Barack Obama took office. The previous record was 15.9 percent reached in March and April. Black male unemployment rose a whole percentage point last month to 18 percent. Even more sobering, the black youth unemployment rate in August was 46.5 percent, up from July’s 39.2 percent. [Black Unemployment Jumped to Staggering New Highs in August, by Grace Wyler, Business, September 2, 2011]

With America’s astronomical unemployment level, you might think that adding about 1 million new workers a month through mass immigration would be a federal policy worth reviewing. But when a panel of more than a dozen think tanks, economists, industry groups and lawmakers submitted their suggestions to get the economy going again and create jobs, no one mentioned immigration.

Here are some of their ideas: fix infrastructure, cut corporate taxes, establish tax credits for each new employee hired, create federal assistance programs to bankrupt states, institute job sharing, train the jobless and eliminate red tape.

Note that all these ideas would take more time to implement, cost more and don’t have as much certainty of success as reducing immigration which would eliminate a foreign-born work permit holder, can be done instantly and is free. [Industry Leaders Offer Ideas on How to Jump Start Nation’s Economy, by Paul Davidson, Chicago Sun-Times, September 2, 2011]

On Thursday, Obama will deliver his so called "big" jobs speech. Often described in the mainstream media as "much anticipated," it will call for implementing many of the suggestions the above "experts" recommend.

The true indication of how little the nation expects from Obama on jobs (or anything else) is that football fans were so outraged that the president’s speech to Congress would conflict with  the NFL opening game between the Green Bay Packers and the New Orleans Saints that protests rained down on the White House. Obama reluctantly promised he’d be finished speaking before kick off. [Obama or Football? Speech to End Before Kick Off, by Robert Klemko,  USA Today, September 1, 2011]

If Obama can’t give unemployed Americans jobs, he’d better not take away their football, too.


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