Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Disturbing News Underneath Jobs Headline

On the surface, the new jobs report, which shows the unemployment rate dropping to 8.6 percent from 9.0 percent the previous month, is good news. Below the surface, however, the news is actually quite disturbing.

According to the Department of Labor, 120,000 jobs were created last month, which is an unusually low figure for what is supposed to be a recovery. But what really stands out about the DOL report is that 315,000 people dropped out of the labor market in November. To put it another way: The number of people dropping out of the labor force in November was more than two-and-a-half times as large as those joining the labor force. In fact, the labor participation rate fell to 64 percent from 64.2 percent in October – nearly matching the lowest figure we’ve seen (63.9 percent in July) since the early 1980s. The long-term unemployed (27 weeks or more) increased as well, even as the average hourly earnings went down. (Wages are up by only 1.8 percent over the past 12 months while overall inflation increased by 3.6 percent.)

What this means is that we’ve got a very weak labor market.

Often a decreasing unemployment rate is a sign of economic strength. In this case it’s a sign of economic weakness. And all the political spin in the world won’t change that.


Join the discussion…

Are you a subscriber? Log in to comment »

Not a subscriber? Join the discussion today, subscribe to Commentary »





Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.