The Last Obama Jobs Report

Jobs report

The December jobs report out this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics showed a net increase of 156,000 jobs and an uptick in the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent. The participation rate was at 62.7 percent, about where it’s been all year. While monthly job growth averaged about 200,000 in 2014 and 2015, this year it slowed to an average of about 180,000, the worst annual showing since 2011.

The 4.7 percent unemployment rate is the lowest year-end rate since 2006, and December 2016 was the 73rd month of employment growth, the longest stretch of job growth since the statistics started being kept in 1939. That sounds impressive and, no doubt, President Obama will tout them in his farewell speech next Tuesday. But job growth was, while consistent, also consistently anemic considering that almost all of the Obama presidency has been a recovery from a very nasty recession (recovery began in June 2009). Such recoveries usually bring very brisk job growth. The unemployment rate would be much higher had the participation rate not fallen to its lowest level since the 1970’s during the Obama years. The number of people working part-time who would like to be working full-time remains stubbornly high, as does those chronically unemployed (i.e. for more than 27 weeks) at about 7.5 million.

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The Recovery Struggles

unemployment

The September jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics came out this morning. It reported that the economy generated 156,000 new jobs in September, slightly fewer than economists had been projecting. This compares with August’s (revised) job total of 167,000 and July’s (also revised) of 252,000.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 5.0 percent. That latter is, actually, modestly good news, as it indicates some once-discouraged workers coming back into the labor market. But the unemployment rate and the number of people unemployed (7.9 million in September) has been basically flat for more than a year. In September 2015, it was 5.1 percent. Teenage unemployment remains dismal at 15.7 percent, largely due to counterproductive minimum-wage laws.

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The Left Lets the Veil Drop

minimum wage

You’ve got to hand it to progressives. So assured are they that their policy prescriptions are ultimately for the best that they routinely demonstrate utter disregard for consistency or the consequences of disseminating untruths. Everything is fair game, so long as it advances their preferred agenda. Such was the brazen course taken by liberals in their pursuit of a “living wage,” e.g. a dramatic increase in state and federal minimum wages.

In the effort to create an issue on which the party could campaign in 2014, Democrats settled on hiking the minimum wage. For many of its advocates, this policy preference was the result of a noble desire to provide support for the less fortunate amid the lingering effects of the 2008 financial downturn. Good intentions have always inoculated the left against criticisms of the consequences of their policy preferences.

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NYT to the Unskilled: Drop Dead

unemployment

If the New York Times editorial board ever wonders why their editorials have so little influence these days, they might consider this. An editorial designed to affect public policy should consist of four parts: 1) Here’s the problem, 2) Here’s the solution, 3) Here’s what the other side says, 4) Here’s why they’re wrong.  A New York Times editorial, however, consists of only three parts: 1) Here’s the problem, 2) Here’s the liberal doctrine on the problem, 3) Only greedy, stupid, evil (choose one or more) people and interests oppose it.

Consider their recent editorial on Governor Andrew Cuomo’s proposal to raise the state minimum wage to $15.00 per hour. It starts off, “The lowest-wage workers in New York could soon get a much-needed raise — if the stingy Republicans who control the State Senate don’t block it.” The Republicans, of course, are being stingy with other people’s money, which is, at the least, refreshing, as generosity with other people’s money is the political norm on both left and right. It goes on:

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Another Good Jobs Report

Jobs report

With the stock market off to a dismal start this year, largely thanks to economic troubles in China, it got some good news this morning regarding the American economy.

The December jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, like the November report, showed strong job growth. While economists were predicting job growth about equal to November’s 211,000, the report came in with a net 292,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate, meanwhile, held steady at 5.0 percent for the third month in a row.  And the jobs created in October and November were revised upwards by 50,000. The last quarter was the year’s strongest quarter for job creation. Overall 2015 averaged 221,000 net new jobs a month. That’s down from 2014’s 260,000 jobs, but the second best since 1999, at the height of the 90’s boom.

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A Strong Jobs Report

Jobs report

The November jobs report issued this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics was, like the October one, encouraging. Jobs were up by 211,000 while the jobless rate stayed the same at 5 percent, indicating more people coming into the labor market as jobs become more plentiful. The participation rate, as a consequence, rose a tick to 62.5 percent, but that is still down from a year ago when it was 62.9 percent.

Long-term unemployment, those out of a job for more than half a year, dropped from 2.14 million to 2.05 million. But a broader measure of unemployment, including those stuck in part-time jobs when they want full-time work, and those too discouraged to look for a job rose slightly to 9.9 percent.

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Another Lackluster Jobs Report

Jobs report

The August jobs report came in with only 173,000 new jobs, well under the consensus estimate of 220,000. However, the unemployment rate ticked down by two-tenths to 5.1 percent. Both June and July had their jobs numbers raised, to 245,000 each, up by 44,000 for the two months.

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