Unemployment up. Again.

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Job growth has slowed to almost nothing, forcing the unemployment rate higher yet again. Now sitting at 9.2% “officially”, the outlook is bleak. To keep with with population growth would require 125,000 jobs per month. To get to an 8% unemployment rate by the November 2012 election would require more than double that – 255,000 per month. That’s not happening. In fact, The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the true picture is much worse than 9.2. When the underemployed and the discouraged are added to the numbers, the unemployment rate rises to 16.6%.

In addition, hourly wages declines, after-tax incomes have been flat and the average work-week was shortened. Since Obama took office, the economy is down 2.5 million jobs. Speaking briefly in the Rose Garden, President Obama said the dismal numbers confirm “what most Americans already know: We still have a long way to go and more work to do.” According to Politico, “Obama blamed natural disasters, gas prices, European financial woes and “uncertainty” on the debt limit for creating a shaky economic recovery. “We’ve always known we’d have ups and downs,” he said.” He then stressed the need to raise the debt ceiling and cut the deficit to “give markets more certainty and grow the economy.”

Things are so bad right now, economists are saying there is no silver lining. I disagree. The silver lining is a one-term Obama.

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18 Responses to “Unemployment up. Again.”

  1. Daniel B. Says:

    “Cattle mutilations are up…”

  2. hollyonthehill Says:

    Say what?

  3. James R Says:

    Amen to your article. When the bailout and stimulus were signed, I figured we’d be better off if we just split that money evenly amongst all those who paid taxes the year before. We would have been even better off without it, today…not to say there wouldn’t have been some trouble for a year. But, that’s why you have your year’s supply. Things would have rebounded. Now we’ve propped up the cancer.

  4. Randall Wall Says:

    I do think they need to raise the debt ceiling here in the short term but serious cuts need to be implemented in government spending and jobs.. It is time that government experienced the same lay offs and uncertainty that the rest of the world does..

  5. Derek Says:

    Holly–you’re overlooking what the President just said in his press conference about these dismal numbers that actually inspires some serious “hope” in the future. I quote: “I am ready to roll up my sleeves over the next several weeks and next several months.”

    So, let’s not underestimate the power of a president who has, now, finally, decided to “roll up his sleeves” on the issue . . . 🙂

  6. Sue Connor Says:

    I agree AGAIN! Where are the jobs?!

    Too bad the republican congress is focused on their own limited agenda and passing bills about defunding planned parenthood and on a state level limiting women’s health care rights even though abortion has been legal in our nation for some time now. These are not priorities!

    Getting re-elected by passing message bills that please your donors is also not a national priority – it’s selfish, short term goal.

    Where are the job bills? This can’t be blamed on Obama.We’ve spent the last six months immobilized by a rigid non compromising republican congress who seems to be willing to let citizens experience a lot of pain as long as they “beat” this president. No body is winning now, except maybe the rich who are still not investing in their own businesses to create jobs despite their theories of job creation. Big Fail for “trickle down”. Big win for hoard money and refuse tax increases while others lose their jobs,homes, health care benefits, and sink into despair.

    Oh well, these folks probably won’t even feel able to vote, so I guess it’s a
    workable strategy for some republicans.

    Is this the kind of republican leader who want to be Holly?!

  7. rmwarnick Says:

    Since President Obama (aka the “socialist”) took office, the governmental workforce has shrunk by 500,000 jobs. That nearly cancels out private sector job creation.

    Why do Dems devote so much effort to implementing right-wing Republican policies? The two-party system won’t work unless there are two different parties, you know.

  8. markg91359 Says:

    Being a loyal opposition is one thing. However, the GOP Congress has opposed every action and every single piece of legislation Obama has proposed since taking office. Even if you believe Obama is a bad president and should only serve one term in office he still isn’t 100% wrong.

    All I can say is that if these clowns do succeed in defeating Obama and we have Romney or some other GOP President in 2012 it ought to be fun to watch. These “negative naysayers” in the GOP won’t know what to do. They’ll applaud Romney when he does the same things they constantly criticized Obama for.

    What’s really fun sometimes is to watch one group of republicans who criticize Obama for fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Libya and than watch another group of republicans criticize him for not fighting those wars aggressively enough. He may be wrong on one account, he’s not wrong on both.

    Than there is the group of republicans who would rather default on our nation’s debts than raise taxes on the wealthy by even some minimal amount. I guess that finally proves it to me that the GOP is all about helping the rich while the country goes to h-e-l-l.

    What a sad lot most of our nation’s conservatives are.

  9. JBT Says:

    The recent discouraging labor figures for June 2011 showed a net increase of only 18,000 jobs, far short of the number anticipated. This figure represents an increase of 57,000 new private sector jobs against a loss of 39,000 public service jobs giving a net increase of 18,000 to the US workforce.

    The 39,000 public service jobs lost are almost exclusively the result of Republican governors and state legislatures cutting state services rather than closing tax loopholes for corporations or raising taxes on the ultra rich in order to solve their budget deficit problems.

    What this economy needs is more public sector jobs, not fewer. Each dollar spent by those employed by state, local, and federal governments on goods and services drive up the demand for those products and create or protect jobs in the private sector. Each dollar spent by the government produces a return of over $1.60 to the overall economy.

  10. Andrea Says:

    @rmwarnick
    You must be joking. The 500,000 reduction is due to 2010 Census being over and a reduction in state and local government employees, neither which Obama had anything to do with. Here are the numbers straight from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (see last page of link below). And if you exclude the US Postal Service, which is also beyond Obama’s control your claim is even more ridiculous.

    Federal employment excluding temp Census and USPS
    January 2009 2.060 million
    June 2010 2.204 million

    http://www.bls.gov/ces/cescensusworkers.pdf

  11. Andrea Says:

    Sorry that should be June 2011, not 2010

  12. Andrea Says:

    JBT,

    The reason for the reduction in state and local government jobs is that growth in this area during the past ten and twenty years has been unsustainable. From BLS, here are the growth numbers from January 2001 to June 2011
    http://stats.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cesbtab1.htm

    local government excl K-12: +13%
    local K-12: +6.7%
    state govt excl higher ed: -2.5%
    state govt higher ed: +17.6%
    Total state and local: +8.6%

    Please note that growth in local K-12 education employment (the largest single component in state/local employment) occurred while K-12 enrollment grew by only 3.6% http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_036.asp

  13. JBT Says:

    From the year 2000 to 2010 the population of the U.S. has increased 9.7%. From the year 1990 it has seen an increase of 22.9%. For each increase in the number of persons in the U.S. there is a corresponding increase in the need for public services.

    The growth of the public sector has been in line with the increase in the population and the needs of the citizenry are as great as they have ever been in recent history due to the weak economy and high unemployment. It is due to this high unemployment that the revenues are not available to help fund public services at the levels required.

    The conservatives solution, of course is to lay off more state and local government workers adding to he drain on unemployment programs and further reducing tax revenues and cutting demands for goods and services those unemployed workers can no longer afford.

    Adding to the revenue base by increasing taxes on the wealthiest 1% of U.S. citizens who own over 34% of our country’s assets and who currently enjoy the lowest tax rates in our country’s history is out of the question with the Republican thinking crowd. They would much rather cut services for the poor, elderly, and handicapped, raise class sizes, reduce police and fire protection, and keep women from getting breast cancer screenings at Planned Parenthood clinics.

    Protecting at all costs those who can most easily afford to pay a bit more of their income at the expense of those who are struggling paycheck to paycheck even to the point of destroying our country’s economy by holding the debt ceiling vote hostage seems to be what most accurately defines the Republican Party at the present time.

    Adding public school teachers at a rate slightly higher than the growth of enrollment means reduced class sizes and better education—especially for those students who need more individual attention to succeed. Rather than take the position that this is growth that our country cannot sustain, I choose to see it as something that we can’t afford not to do for our children’s, and our nation’s future.

    Conservative ideologues are fond of spouting statistics, numbers, and dollar figures to drive home their talking points. If only they could look beyond the numbers and see the living breathing human beings whose lives are affected by those numbers, they might catch a glimpse of the world that we Democrats, Liberals, and Progressives see every day.

  14. Andrea Says:

    JBT,

    First of all, if we are going to correlate K-12 employment growth with something, K-12 EMPLOYMENT growth should correlate with ENROLLMENT growth, not overall POPULATION growth. So when K-12 enrollment increases by less than 4% and K-12 employment increases by 13%, your argument holds no water.

    Moreover, you are wrong to assume that employment growth has to increase with population growth. Economic growth is synonymous with productivity growth which means doing more with less. One hundred years ago, agricultural employment was more than one-third of total employment. Now it’s about 2% of total employment yet we produce more food than we can eat and we export more than we import. If people like you were running American agriculture, you would be arguing that we need to reduce the acre-to-farmer ratio instead of increasing productivity.

    Agriculture is not the only industry to experience productivity growth. Virtually every industry has experienced tremendous productivity growth except for K-12 education. Of course, education is sooooo different that nothing learned in the rest of the universe applies to K-12 education, right? After all, performance pay, increased reliance on technology, competition work virtually everywhere else on the plant but not in education, right?

    Over the past 40 years, we have substantially increased per student spending in real terms and have substantially reduced pupil-teacher ratios, but performance as measured by graduation rates and NAEP scores has improved only slightly.

    See columns four and five of the following link and you’ll see that per student spending adjusted for inflation has DOUBLED since 1975. http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_190.asp

    In this chart, you’ll see that pupil-teacher ratios have decreased 12% in just twenty years http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d10/tables/dt10_067.asp

    but the improved performance that you keep promising doesn’t materialize.

  15. JBT Says:

    Re: your last sentence. What would the education outcome have been without the increase in per pupil spending, and decrease in class sizes? Teaching children is not the same as growing corn or producing circuit boards on an assembly line.

    May I ask what experience you have in education that makes you an expert in this area?

  16. Andrea Says:

    My experience in education: taxpayer for several decades and 13 years as a student in public schools

    I was anticipating your last question because I’ve heard it so many times before. When I cite education data, the response is “have you ever taught in public schools?” or something like that.

    It’s interesting how defenders of the K-12 status quo will only accept opinions from those who have teaching experience. When I comment on health care, no one asks me if I am a doctor. When I complain about the tax code, no one asks if I am a CPA. When I talk about economics, no one asks if I am an economist. However, if I comment on education, the fall back question is always “are you a teacher?”

    Bottom line: we can comment on anything, but if we are to comment on education, we must have proper “credentials”.

  17. JBT Says:

    Andrea. With all due respect it is easy to quote “statistics” in an attempt to support one’s views on education. It is far more difficult to come up with solutions to the complex and multifaceted problems facing our educational system today which mirror the problems in society our nation faces as a whole.

    It is easy to make teachers and the “education establishment” the scapegoat for U.S. schools falling behind their counterparts in other developed countries, and to spout simplistic solutions to extremely complex problems.

    Everyone is welcome to their opinion, but for those who have no experience in education whatsoever to presume they are more knowledgeable than those who have spent their entire lives working to improve our children’s education is presumptive at best. For those who think they alone can see solutions that the best and brightest career leaders in education have missed due to their ignorance is asinine arrogance to say the least.

    If you are so damn smart, get your teaching credential, work 10 years in a challenging inner city school, and then get back to me with your statistical table, “pie in the sky” solutions to education’s problems that do not involve, as you conservatives love to call it, “throwing money at the problem”. By that time you just might have a clue—that is if you survive beyond the first two weeks.

  18. Andrea Says:

    OK fine. I’ll stop opining on education if you and other liberals stop opining

    – on healthcare unless you are a medical doctor
    – on transportation unless you are a civil engineer (engineering is real hard, you know)
    – on defense unless you’ve served in the military AND have worked for a defense contractor
    – on NASA unless you are an astronaut
    – on financial services unless you have an MBA from Wharton and have worked on Wall Street
    – and so on.

    And if you ever problems with an auto mechanic or an electrician or a plumber or a contractor, don’t complain unless you are an auto mechanic or an electrician or a plumber or a contractor.

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