August 6, 2012
"

In fact, the U.S. economy actually lost 1.2 million jobs last month. There were 134.1 million jobs in June, and 132.9 million jobs in July. (The numbers are in this PDF.)

Why the massive gap between the number everybody is reporting and the actual number?

There are huge seasonal fluctuations in employment that occur in a predictable way, year after year. Retailers staff up before Christmas, and lay people off in January. Public school districts staff up in the fall — and let people go in July, after the school year ends.

"

Actually, The U.S. Lost 1.2 Million Jobs Last Month

(via planetmoney)

Planet Money is such a buzzkill.

(via markcoatney)

They’re wrong and Wonkblog explained why.

(via markcoatney)

12:53pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlkSWyQtBGD-
  
Filed under: Economy Jobs 
June 1, 2012
The Job Stall

robertreich:

The White House must be telling itself there are still five months between now and Election Day, so the jobs picture could brighten. After all, we went through a similar mid-year slump in 2011 but came out fine.

But however you look at today’s jobs report, it’s a stunning reminder of how anemic the recovery has been – and how perilously close the nation is to falling into another recession.

Not only has the unemployment rate risen for the first time in almost a year, to 8.2 percent, but, more ominously, May’s payroll survey showed that employers created only 69,000 net new jobs. The Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its March and April reports downward. Only 96,000 new jobs have been created, on average, over the last three months.

Put this into perspective. Between December and February, the economy added an average of 252,000 jobs each month. To go from 252,000 to 96,000, on average, is a terrible slide.  At least 125,000 jobs are needed a month merely to keep up with the growth in the working-age population available to work.

Face it: The jobs recovery has stalled.
 
What’s going on? Part of the problem is the rest of the world. Europe is in the throes of a debt crisis and spiraling toward recession. China and India are slowing. Developing nations such as Brazil, dependent on exports to China, are feeling the effects and they’re slowing as well. All this takes a toll on U.S. exports.

But a bigger part of the problem is right here in the United States, and it’s clearly on the demand side of the equation. Big companies are still sitting on a huge pile of cash. They won’t invest it in new jobs because American consumers aren’t buying enough to justify the risk and expense of doing so.

Yet American consumers don’t have the cash or the willingness to spend more. Not only are they worried about keeping their jobs, but their wages keep dropping. The median wage continues to slide, adjusted for inflation. Average hourly earnings in May were up 2 cents – an increase of 1.7 percent from this time last year – but that’s less than the rate of inflation. And the value of their home – their biggest asset by far – is still declining.  The average workweek slipped to 34.4 hours in May.

Corporate profits are healthy largely because companies have found ways to keep payrolls down – substituting lower-paid contract workers, outsourcing abroad, using computers and new software applications. But that’s exactly the problem. In paring their payrolls, they’re paring their customers.

And we no longer have any means of making up for the shortfall in consumer demand. Federal stimulus spending is over. In fact, state and local governments continue to lay off large numbers. The government cut 13,000 jobs in May. Instead of a boost, government cuts have become a considerable drag on the rest of the economy.

Republicans will  have a field day with today’s jobs report, taking it as a sign that Obama’s economic policies have failed and we need instead their brand of fiscal austerity combined with more tax cuts for the wealthy.

But that’s precisely the reverse of what’s needed.

May 29, 2012
theatlantic:

Why Women Will Rule the Economy of the Future

Women are poised to dominate our workforce in the coming years. With each passing decade, more Americans have gone to school and earned a higher degree. But as shown in this chart above, which I compiled from data in a pair of annual reports released by the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly all of that progress since 1975 has been among females (in GREEN).
Women passed men in bachelor’s attainment in 1995 and haven’t looked back since. By 2000, a higher share of females were earning Master’s degrees, where they now out-compete males 8.8 percent to 5.1 percent. The pattern has been similar across every racial demographic. Among whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, women have simply made more progress.  
Read more. [Image: Jordan Weissmann]

theatlantic:

Why Women Will Rule the Economy of the Future

Women are poised to dominate our workforce in the coming years. With each passing decade, more Americans have gone to school and earned a higher degree. But as shown in this chart above, which I compiled from data in a pair of annual reports released by the National Center for Education Statistics, nearly all of that progress since 1975 has been among females (in GREEN).

Women passed men in bachelor’s attainment in 1995 and haven’t looked back since. By 2000, a higher share of females were earning Master’s degrees, where they now out-compete males 8.8 percent to 5.1 percent. The pattern has been similar across every racial demographic. Among whites, blacks, Hispanics, and Asians, women have simply made more progress.  

Read more. [Image: Jordan Weissmann]

2:27pm  |   URL: http://tmblr.co/ZlkSWyMMxHPr
  
Filed under: Jobs Gender 
May 4, 2012
"If the same percentage of adults were in the workforce today as when Barack Obama took office, the unemployment rate would be 11.1 percent. If the percentage was where it was when George W. Bush took office, the unemployment rate would be 13.2 percent."

— Ezra Klein • Remarking on declining labor force participation in the US. It’s often noted that official unemployment numbers understate the real percentage of people out of work, as they only tally people actively searching for a job. One consequence of this is that when labor force participation decreases—that is, when unemployed folks just give up and stop looking for work—employment actually “increases.” That’s why only 115,000 jobs were added last month, yet unemployment decreased from 8.2% to 8.1%. Since Barack Obama took office, labor force participation has declined 2%. It’s now at 63.6% which, Klein notes, is “a level not seen since the early days of the Reagan administration.” Here’s a chart. source (viafollow)

March 29, 2012
thenationmagazine:

This is what the Republicans’ economic plan looks like. Here’s what else happened in states that turned red in 2010.

thenationmagazine:

This is what the Republicans’ economic plan looks like. Here’s what else happened in states that turned red in 2010.

October 9, 2011
wearethe99percent:

Kind of sad when I can do better for myself in a developing country than I can in the USA. Maybe it is time some of you, my fellow Americans, think about opportunities abroad. I myself don’t teach, but teaching English overseas is something that is very needed right now - Korea, China, Middle East, northern Africa - you can make decent money, gain international experience and learn a new language, all things that can only help you. Living overseas, I paid off my debt in 6 months because of cheap cost of living. Something to consider and research.

wearethe99percent:

Kind of sad when I can do better for myself in a developing country than I can in the USA. Maybe it is time some of you, my fellow Americans, think about opportunities abroad. I myself don’t teach, but teaching English overseas is something that is very needed right now - Korea, China, Middle East, northern Africa - you can make decent money, gain international experience and learn a new language, all things that can only help you. Living overseas, I paid off my debt in 6 months because of cheap cost of living. Something to consider and research.

(via pantslessprogressive)

October 5, 2011
'...The Republicans’ willingness to play political games while millions are out of work is inexcusable, but the eagerness of some Democratic senators to protect big business and big contributors is no less frustrating.'

(Source: thesmithian)

September 19, 2011
"Since the official end of the recession, virtually all of the new income—92 percent as of the first quarter of 2011—has gone to corporate profits, according to a May report by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. NONE of the increased GDP has gone to boost wages and salaries."

(via pantslessprogressive)

September 13, 2011
How to Create More Jobs By Lowering Wages: Texas and America

robertreich:

Perry and Romney can duke it out over who created the most jobs, but governors have as much influence over job growth in their states as roosters do over sunrises.

States don’t have their own monetary policies so they can’t lower interest rates to spur job growth. They can’t spur demand through fiscal policies because state budgets are small, and 49 out of 50 are barred by their constitutions from running deficits.

States can cut corporate taxes and regulations, and dole out corporate welfare, in efforts to improve the states’ “business climate.” But studies show these strategies have little or no effect on where companies locate. Location decisions are driven by much larger factors — where customers are, transportation links, and energy costs.

If governors try hard enough, though, they can create lots of lousy jobs. They can drive out unions, attract low-wage immigrants, and turn a blind eye to businesses that fail to protect worker health and safety.

Rick Perry seems to have done exactly this. While Texas leads the nation in job growth, a majority of Texas’s workforce is paid hourly wages rather than salaries. And the median hourly wage there was $11.20, compared to the national median of $12.50 an hour.

Texas has also been specializing in minimum-wage jobs. From 2007 to 2010, the number of minimum wage workers there rose from 221,000 to 550,000 – that’s an increase of nearly 150 percent. And 9.5 percent of Texas workers earn the minimum wage or below – compared to about 6 percent for the rest of the nation, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state also has the lowest percentage of workers without health insurance. Texas schools rank 44th in the nation in per-pupil spending.

The Perry model of creating more jobs through low wages seems to be catching on around America.

According to a report out today from the Commerce Department, the median income of U.S. households fell 2.3 percent last year – to the lowest level in fifteen years (adjusted for inflation). That’s the third straight year of declining household incomes. Part of this is loss of jobs. Part is loss of earnings.  

More and more Americans are retaining their jobs by settling for lower wages and benefits, or going without cost-of-living increases. Or they’ve lost a higher-paying job and have taken one that pays less. Or they’ve joined the great army of contingent workers, self-employed “consultants,” temps, and contract workers – without healthcare benefits, without pensions, without job security, without decent wages.  

It’s no great feat to create lots of lousy jobs. A few years ago Michele Bachmann remarked that if the minimum wage were repealed “we could potentially virtually wipe out unemployment completely because we would be able to offer jobs at whatever level.”

I keep on hearing conservative economists say Americans have priced themselves out of the global high-tech labor market. That’s baloney. The productivity of American workers continues to soar. The problem is fewer and fewer Americans are sharing the gains. The ratio of corporate profits to wages is the highest it’s been since before the Great Depression.

Besides, how can lower incomes possibly be an answer to America’s economic problem? Lower incomes mean less overall demand for goods and services — which translates into even fewer jobs and even lower wages.

In short, the Perry (and Bachmann) model of job growth condemns Americans to lower and lower living standards. That’s nothing to crow about.

September 9, 2011
Two Cheers and One Jeer for the American Jobs Act

robertreich:

Two cheers for the President and his America’s Jobs Act. Cheer Number One: In presenting it to a joint session of Congress, he sounded as passionate and determined as he’s ever sounded.

Second cheer: He laid out the problem correctly and effectively. He explained why jobs and growth must be the nation’s first priority now — not the federal deficit. The economy is in crisis. People are hurting. So government must act, and act quickly. It’s irresponsible at a time like this to suggest that government should simply close down.

But a jeer because the jobs plan he presented isn’t nearly large enough or bold enough to make a major dent in unemployment, or to restart the economy.

$450 billion sounds like a lot – and is more than I expected — but some of this merely extends current spending (unemployment benefits) and tax cuts (in Social Security taxes), so it doesn’t add to aggregate demand.

The net new boost to the economy is closer to $300 billion. That doesn’t approach even half the gap between what the economy is now producing and what it could produce at or near full employment.

And much that $300 billion is in the form of temporary tax cuts to individuals and companies. Some of these make sense — enlarging the Social Security tax cut, extending it to employers, and giving small businesses a tax holiday for new hires.

But temporary tax cuts haven’t proven to be particularly effective in stimulating new spending in times of economic stress. People tend to use them to pay off debts or increase savings. Companies use them to reduce costs, but they won’t make additional hires unless they expect additional sales – which won’t occur unless consumers increase their spending.

That leaves some $140 billion for infrastructure – improving outworn school buildings, roads, bridges, ports, and so on. And $35 billion to help cash-starved states avoid more layoffs teachers. Both good and important but still small relative to the overall need.

Why did the President include so many tax cuts, and why didn’t he make his proposal sufficiently large to make a real impact on jobs and growth? Because he crafted it in order to appeal to Republicans. To get it enacted, he needs their votes.

I’m having a dizzying sense of déjà vu. The first $800 billion stimulus (spread over two years) wasn’t nearly large enough given the drop in aggregate demand. And half of it was in the form of tax cuts. The reason it wasn’t bigger and contained so many tax cuts was to get Republican votes. But its apparent ineffectiveness — it saved around 3 million jobs, but that didn’t save it from appearing to fail — made it harder for the White House to do anything more to stimulate the economy, and ward off what’s likely to be a double dip.

That’s been the heart of Obama’s dilemma. Big and bold enough to make a difference, and Republicans are certain to reject it. Small and focused on tax cuts, and maybe Republicans will bite. But even if they sign on, what’s the point of the exercise if it won’t have a measurable effect on jobs and growth?

And why would they sign on this time, anyway?

Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell scoffs “This isn’t a job plan. It’s a reelection plan.” That’s precisely the problem. McConnell and company have stated publicly that their number-one objective is to unseat Obama and regain the presidency in 2012. They don’t want to give the President anything he could possibly claim as a victory. And they’re not terribly worried if the economy stays awful through Election Day because that’s the best way to fulfill their number-one objective.

The President would have done better with a plan that was big enough to make a real difference. And then, when Republicans rejected it, campaign on it.

So two cheers — for both the President’s style and his words. And one jeer: He failed on substance and strategy.