Showing posts with label Jobs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jobs. Show all posts

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Labor Participation Myth

The Republican talking point about labor participation was recently torpedoed by Among the facts...

Sen. Lindsey Graham said the labor participation rate “is at an all-time low.” That’s not accurate. It was lower between 1948 and 1978. 

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus blamed the shrinking participation rate on “the Obama economy,” but economists say most of the decline, which has been happening for more than a decade, is due to demographics, including the trend of baby boomers reaching retirement age and deciding to no longer work.

More specifically...

1) The aging of baby boomers. A lower percentage of older Americans choose to work than those who are middle-aged. And so as baby boomers approach retirement age, it lowers the labor force participation rate. 

2) A decline in working women. The labor force participation rate for men has been declining since the 1950s. But for a couple decades, a rapid rise in working women more than offset that dip. Women’s labor force participation exploded from nearly 34 percent in 1950 to its peak of 60 percent in 1999. But since then, women’s participation rate has been “displaying a pattern of slow decline.” 

3) More young people are going to college. As BLS noted, “Because students are less likely to participate in the labor force, increases in school attendance at the secondary and college levels and, especially, increases in school attendance during the summer, significantly reduce the labor force participation rate of youths.” 

So no matter who was president, and independent of the health of the economy, BLS projected in 2006 that labor force participation rates were going to go down.

As usual, conservatives feel that they are entitled to their own facts:)

Saturday, February 07, 2015

More Economic Good News

The Labor Department said on Friday that employers added a seasonally adjusted 257,000 jobs in January, but even more significant was a revision of earlier estimates showing an additional gain of 147,000 jobs in November and December. Since Nov. 1, employers have hired more than one million new workers, the best performance over a three-month period since 1997. More jobs were created in 2014 as a whole than in any year since 1999.

Obama's "destruction" of the United States continues...the clever fiendishness of his evil plot is brilliant!

Meanwhile, Republicans are trying to figure out how to respond:)

Monday, January 12, 2015

All Economic Signs Good!

Yesterday's paper had a great piece on how well the economy is doing here in Minnesota and in the rest of the country. Check out this interactive graphic that illustrates the five key indicators (jobs, unemployment, consumer sentiment, gas prices, and GDP) clearly showing just how much our economy has improved during the Obama years.

Any retractions out there yet?

Friday, January 09, 2015

The Obummer Destruction of the Economy Continues

Today's jobs report was very positive with the unemployment rate dropping to 5.6% and 252,000 jobs added in the month of December. November's jobs number was revised upwards to over 350,000 jobs. Overall, the economy added nearly three million jobs in 2014.

I look at this graph and I have to wonder, where is the "Obummer Destruction of the economy" I hear so much about from conservatives? Certainly, you can't credit the president completely for the improved economy but his policies have most definitely helped.

As always, I'm still waiting for that "tough history coming." Any day now...:)

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Obama Still Destroying Economy

Job Gains Put US on Pace for Best Growth Since '99

"These were boom-like numbers," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. "They indicate that the U.S. economy is on very solid ground." Friday's report also raised hopes that Americans' pay might finally be starting to increase after barely budging since the Great Recession began seven years ago. The average hourly wage rose 9 cents to $24.66, the biggest gain in 17 months.

I'm sure conservatives can find some sort of bad news in here...there has to be something!

Saturday, October 04, 2014

President Obama Still Not Destroying The Economy

Unemployment rate drops to 5.9% as job growth rebounds

The economy added a robust 248,000 net new jobs, and the unemployment rate dropped 0.2 percentage point to 5.9%, the lowest since July 2008, the Labor Department said. Job growth in July and August also was revised upward by a total of 69,000. That included lifting August's disappointing initial estimate of 142,000 net new jobs to 180,000.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Saturday, July 05, 2014

Details of the Latest Jobs Report

An even brighter spot in June's jobs report is that fewer Americans are giving up on the job search because they are discouraged by their prospects. Adam Belz notes the fine print.

The fine print of Thursday’s cheery U.S. jobs report revealed that the number of people who are not looking for a job because they don’t think they can find one has fallen by 351,000 in the past 12 months. 

Those who aren’t actively looking for a job don’t count as unemployed in government labor statistics. As the unemployment rate has fallen, a common concern has been that the number misrepresents the reality of the job market, because the ranks of discouraged workers rose as high as 1.3 million in 2010. That figure has fallen to 676,000.

Thursday’s numbers, which show the ranks of discouraged workers falling by 21,000 in June and declining steadily over the past year, indicate that retirement — not a weak job market — is increasingly the biggest reason people are leaving the workforce.

Very good news indeed!

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Unemployment Rate Drops

U.S. employment growth jumped in June and the jobless rate closed in on a six-year low, decisive evidence the economy was moving forward at a brisk clip after a surprisingly big slump at the start of the year. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 288,000 jobs last month and the unemployment rate fell to 6.1 percent, its lowest level since September 2008, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Data for April and May were revised to show a total of 29,000 more jobs created than previously reported.

This marks the 5th straight month of 200K+ job growth which is great news for the US Economy. Of course, this is not so great for the Republicans who have now officially lost the economy as a campaign issue in the fall. If the economy is the #1 issue in the fall election and it's going in the right direction, why would they want to vote an incumbent out of office?

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Back To The Drawing Board

Midwest and national manufacturing grew in November, reports say.

From the article...

Factories making machinery, metal parts, furniture and other long-lasting goods saw product orders jump in November, which helped boost hiring across the manufacturing sector, according to two closely watched reports released Monday.

So, when people buy more things, the companies that make those things hire more people. Huh. I thought companies hired more people when they got tax cuts and demand had nothing to do with it. Apparently, I have been misinformed.

And growth is widespread?

For the nation, the Institute for Supply Management reported growth across several industries, including plastics, rubber, textiles, furniture, paper, metals, transportation equipment, computers and printing. In addition, U.S. manufacturing jobs grew, creating “the highest reading since April 2012,” said Bradley Holcomb, chairman of the Institute’s Manufacturing Business Survey Committee. Fifteen out of 18 manufacturing sectors grew, giving hope that the worst of the lackluster recovery is behind the nation.

And the cost of health care is seen as decreasing?

Over the next few years, the government is expected to spend billions of dollars less than originally projected on the law, analysts said, with both the Medicaid expansion and the subsidies for private insurance plans ending up less expensive than anticipated.

And now even the web site is working better? Sheesh!

Ah well, I guess it's back to the drawing board (and deep into the bubble) for the apocalypcists!

Friday, November 08, 2013

Mea Culpa Is Just Fine

The president apologized yesterday for his mistake in saying, "If you like your insurance, you get to keep it," several times during his campaign to pass the ACA. This is quite illustrative of the type of man he is: someone willing to admit mistakes and work to fix them. And that's just what he is going to do. Notice as well that he is taking the high ground and not blaming the insurance companies which he would be well within his purview to do as it is the truth.

This is quite a bit more than his opponents would do. They never admit error (see: Apocalypse), always blame others, and are actively working to destroy the structures of this country because they are essentially babies who can't accept defeat and any sort of authority in their lives. At election time next year, the problems with the ACA will be fixed (the real ones and not the fake ones made up in bubbleland) and the benefits are going to vastly outweigh the costs.

More importantly, we have seen an improving economy this week. GDP was 2.8 percent for the 3rd quarter and hiring in October exceeded expectations, clocking in over 200k jobs. Revisions were made for August and September, adding in an extra 60K jobs. Imagine how much stronger these numbers would have been had there not been a shutdown. The economy is what really matters to voters in elections and it's pretty clear which party is working to improve it and which one is rooting for it to fail.

Saturday, May 04, 2013


Friday, May 03, 2013

Begin The Spin

U.S. Adds 165,000 Jobs, Unemployment Rate Dips

 The headline unemployment rate ticked lower to 7.5% from 7.6%, the lowest in four years. Economists had predicted an increase of 145,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate would remain unchanged.

Perhaps the best news out of the jobs report was that highly disappointing March numbers were revised upward to 138,000 non-farm jobs created, up from the 88,000 originally reported. In total, revisions added 114,000 jobs to the workforce in February and March. 

Get ready for the new spin which will shift from "Obama is ruining the economy" to "it should have happened sooner and would have if a conservative was in charge!"

Meanwhile, check out the revised February!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

To Hike or Not To Hike

There have been lot of rumblings of late regarding the minimum wage. The president has suggested that it be raised to $9 per hour. Elizabeth Warren has been a staunch champion lately on this issue has been summarily raked over the coals by the usual collection of mouth foamers with the same bullshit argument that claims they know something about economics and that liberals know nothing. Well, here are the facts, based on the simple economics they claim to grasp so easily.

If the minimum wage is set below the market equilibrium, it will have no effect on the efficiency of the market. Even though the government has set a price floor, the market is bearing a higher price so it doesn't matter. Yet, if the price floor is set above the market equilibrium, unemployment will occur because employers would be induced to higher fewer workers, given the higher cost they must now pay their employees. More people would enter the labor market and jobs would be scarcer.

So, the question becomes...where is the market equilibrium? Well, with so many different markets out there in this country, it would depend on which market you are talking about and that's why the mouth foamers can get away with painting with such a broad and dishonest brush. If there is to be a minimum wage increase, then there should be a series of studies that examine the market equilibrium for those markets most affected my the hike. I would think the service industry and the retail industry would be good places to start.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Fantasy Feedback Loop

Michael Tomasky's recent piece is quite brilliant as it exposes the three big lies that we hear all the time from the Right. Before we get to the lies, though, he links a piece which torpedoes, once and for all, the notion that government budgets and family budgets are comparable.

But over a lifetime, the individual is supposed to be working to pay down debts and build wealth, so he or she can afford to stop working in old age. Thrift and saving (and a downward trajectory for debt balances) are virtuous traits in people, because of our life cycles. 

But the government does not have a life cycle; it plans to exist indefinitely. So it makes much more sense to compare the government to a corporation, which also plans for indefinite existence and therefore may have debt as a permanent part of its capital structure. There is not necessarily an expectation that a firm will decrease its debt load over time, and if a company keeps growing, its debt load may keep getting larger without being a sign of financial distress.

Right. I'd further add the point that the nature of each debt is different as well as I have said in the past. 

Now about those lies...they are: we have to balance the budget, public investment is bad, and jobs will result from accomplishing the first and adhering to the warning of the second. As Tomasky notes, each of these assertions is the dead opposite of reality.

Here is a report from the Congressional Research Service that details how short and middle term deficits are completely sustainable while also noting that our deficit has fallen from 10 percent of GDP to 7 percent of GDP since 2009. We are headed towards 4 percent of GDP. Truly, not a problem. There's also some great information in this report regarding the alarm bells on inflation.

The austerity programs we see in Europe aren't working so the idea that public investment is bad is simply wrong. If you want an idea of what steep reductions in government spending do, take a look at Great Britain.

These reductions in government spending are actually worse for jobs as well. I've shown what happens to the economy and how that actually decreases revenue and makes it harder to balance budgets. So, they really have it back asswards on this one.

So, now we are at the point when we have to ask why. Why do they think this way?

Different reasons. I think someone like Ryan must actually believe all this. He is such an ideologue that I assume he wakes up at night after having reread John Galt’s sermon in a cold sweat thinking about debt and inflation and interest rates (the CRS report also explains why these dystopian fears are canards, too). I think a lot of the Tea Party people just hate government and think poor people are irresponsible, and they came here to chop away and haven’t given it much more thought than that; it just seems intuitively right to them that when you’re in the hole, you cut spending. Then I think there are other Republicans who know better but play along anyway because it’s all the rage in their circles, and because if they don’t play along they’ll be primaried, and possibly beaten, by someone who does believe it.

So, it's largely about emotions. As Tomasky notes

Looking back over that last paragraph, I see that what I have described is a rather mad situation—kind of a fantasy feedback loop where the critical mass of people sustain a fiction and the few who know it to be fiction put their position at risk in saying so. And this is how our country is being governed.

Sad and pathetic.

Friday, March 22, 2013

What Do They Do?

Someone asked me in comments a while back just what exactly right to work laws do to a state's economy? Well, here's a pretty good summation. Here's the one that jumped out at me.

2) Under right-to-work laws, workers reap fewer gains from economic growth. Supporters of right-to-work laws often argue that they’ll help attract more businesses to a state. Opponents retort that weakening unions will lead to an erosion of wages. (A large Economic Policy Institute study from 2011 found that, after controlling for a host of factors, right-to-work states have lower wages on average than pro-union states.) 

Both arguments might be correct. One careful study conducted by Hofstra’s Lonnie Stevans in 2007 found that right-to-work laws do help boost the number of businesses in a state — but the gains mostly went to owners, while average wages went down. ”Although right-to-work states may be more attractive to business,” Stevans concludes, “this does not necessarily translate into enhanced economic verve in the right-to-work state if there is little ‘trickle-down’ from business owners to the non-unionized workers.” 

So business owners gain, and workers lose. One possible retort is that these states could simply set up new safety-net programs to compensate workers who are hurt. But that leads to another question: Without strong unions in place, who will push for these policies?

So, more business comes to the state but the gains go right to the owners. Paging Joseph Stiglitz!

What continues to amaze me is how the Right, supposedly "classic liberals" influenced by Adam Smith, vociferously fight for more wealthy for the modern day version of the aristocracy. Somewhere Klemens von Metternich is applauding....

Friday, January 11, 2013


Get used to a new word for 2013: reshoring.

Conventional wisdom says that American jobs are flying like crazy over to China. But a recent piece in the Christian Science Monitor says otherwise.

There's no official tally of the number of jobs returning, but Harry Moser, director of the Reshoring Initiative, which aims to bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States, estimates that 50,000 jobs have returned in the past three years. He bases his estimate on a close read of the media and on reports his organization receives. If that number is accurate, reshoring would account for 12 percent of the manufacturing jobs the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports returned to the American economy since 2010. 

The Boston Consulting Group, a global management consulting firm, in a September report projected that returned manufacturing could bring 5 million new jobs by 2020 and add $90 billion in US exports to the economy.


Why is this happening?

Rising wages in China, unpredictable supply-chain problems, oil prices, and the risk of intellectual property theft are making manufacturers more wary of producing overseas, analysts say.

That's the beauty of the free market, in this case the labor market. Eventually, workers start to demand more money and everything evens out as the labor market adjusts in its growth. But this isn't even the best part.

It's not just that it's getting more expensive to produce overseas. It's also getting cheaper to produce back at home. "It's the shale gas revolution," says Kevin Swift, chief economist and managing director of the American Chemistry Council. "There are low-cost, abundant sources of energy [here] now." Mr. Swift says that's a game changer for his industry: "We were being written off as being noncompetitive. It's completely changed. There's significant investment on the books ... 50 [planned] projects valued at over $40 billion."

Yes, indeed. Things are looking up for our country and it makes me quite happy!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Breaking Even

If 316,000 jobs are added between now and November 6th, the president will break even on jobs since he took office. Included in their 13 slide display on the basic facts of the Obama economy, CNN illustrates in a very plain and simple way, where the president stands on jobs.

Here's the math: 4.316 million jobs were lost in the first 13 months of Obama's presidency. Since he took office, 4 million net jobs have been added back.

Given that the job losses occurred during the first year of his presidency, it's obvious that he's done a great job cleaning up the mess that was left for him.

The slide show contains several key data points for those of you who truly want to gauge the president's performance and the effect on the economy that his policies have had.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

No President Since...

The drone from the "liberal" media of late regarding the re-election chances of President Obama usually revolves around the same line: No president since FDR has been re-elected with an unemployment rate over 8 percent. In looking at this fact alone, liberals should be nervous, right? 

Not really.

First, we need to look at who has lost re-election since FDR. We have Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and George HW Bush. I think we can all agree that all three of these men had problems beyond jobs. 

Second, people like President Obama personally even if they plan on not voting for him. Right now he's running a few points ahead of Mitt Romney (48-46 or something around there). Yet some of those 46 percent approve of him personally as he consistently polls in the mid 50s in polls on him as a person.  Some polls have even had him as high as 75 percent!  Doggone it, people like him:) And that's despite the right's continued pummeling of him as a person which, honestly, gives me a great deal of hope about America. 

More important than both of these (and VASTLY under reported by the media) is the rate of unemployment in the swing states. You see, folks, it really doesn't matter that unemployment is at 11 percent in Rhode Island or nearly 11 percent in California. Those states are going to go for the president. Heck, they may not even approve of the job he is doing but they are still going to vote for him over Mitt Romney because they know that the latter is going to make things worse. To put it simply, the Democrats have done their job in those states. 

Take a look at the unemployment rates by state.  And now look at the swing states. Iowa has a 5.1 percent unemployment rate. That's well below the national average and jobs may not be on the minds of folks in that state. I know this because most of my in-laws are from there. Any president would kill for this rate in joblessness so look for the president to focus on other issues here. New Hampshire is right around here as well (5 percent) as is Virginia at 5.6 percent. Wisconsin and New Mexico are at 6.7 and 6.8 percent respectively. Again, well below the national average. Even Ohio and Pennsylvania are at 7.3 and 7.4 percent Most political wonks agree that if unemployment dips to around 7.5 percent, the election is over. Colorado is the final state that is below the national average at 8.1 percent. 

So, if you add all these states to the president's base of a solid 196, you get 281 electoral votes and enough to win. That's assuming, of course, that because the unemployment rate is so low, that these states will think the president is doing a good job on the economy. If you look at Andy's map over at, this jibes with what I am saying here with the exception of Iowa. The conservative, evangelical base has grown very strong there over the years so I wouldn't be surprised if Romney won that state. But that only takes away 6 votes which leaves the president with 275.

We are left with Nevada, Florida, North Carolina and Michigan. North Carolina is barely Republican and will probably go to Romney after the whole gay marriage flap.Andy's map shows us that the rest of those will go to the president's column with Nevada being likely Democratic with Florida and Michigan at barely Democratic. Nevada and Florida have such heavy Latino populations that Romney is going to have real problems in both of these states. Michigan is likely a go for the president for obvious reasons which brings us to 326-212. 

At this point, this is my prediction for the election. Obviously, a lot could change between now and then but I honestly don't think that the unemployment rate is going to matter because the battle is really down to 12 states or less. South Carolina could have an employment rate of 0 percent and they would never vote for the president. 

Conservatives keep pushing the economy as the main issue but are they paying attention to the unemployment rate in the swing states? Certainly, the media is not.