Commentary Magazine


Topic: jobs report. Great Depression

The Jobs Report

It’s another dreary jobs report out this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, detailing yet another month of the apparently endless “Obama Recovery,” the worst since the Great Depression lingered on and on in the 1930s.

Employment rose by 155,000 and the unemployment rate stayed the same at 7.8 percent (the November unemployment rate, originally reported at 7.7 percent, was revised upwards a notch in this report). It’s not surprising that it stayed the same, as the civilian workforce rose by 192,000 last month. In other words, job growth is barely keeping pace with population growth. And part of the job growth is probably due to Hurricane Sandy, as 30,000 construction jobs were added in December, not ordinarily a good month for construction jobs.

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It’s another dreary jobs report out this morning from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, detailing yet another month of the apparently endless “Obama Recovery,” the worst since the Great Depression lingered on and on in the 1930s.

Employment rose by 155,000 and the unemployment rate stayed the same at 7.8 percent (the November unemployment rate, originally reported at 7.7 percent, was revised upwards a notch in this report). It’s not surprising that it stayed the same, as the civilian workforce rose by 192,000 last month. In other words, job growth is barely keeping pace with population growth. And part of the job growth is probably due to Hurricane Sandy, as 30,000 construction jobs were added in December, not ordinarily a good month for construction jobs.

Unemployment for blacks (14.0 percent) and teenagers (23.5 percent) remained dismal, as did unemployment for those aged 18-29 at 11.5 percent. Long-term unemployment is stuck at 4.8 million, or 39.1 percent of all unemployed, and 7.9 million are working part-time although they would rather work full-time. The number of employed people as a percentage of the total population remains at 58.6, the same as it was a year ago. That is not exactly a sign of a recovery that is gathering steam.

Why is the dismal Obama recovery so much like the dismal Roosevelt recovery of the 1930s? Could it be because both presidents pursued the same policies—high taxes on high-income earners, greatly increased regulation on business, government “investment,” and redistribution of wealth? Yep, it could be.

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