Hardly Working: Latest job gains encouraging but practically worthless.

Posted in Uncategorized by 5thstate on May 24, 2010

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As can been seen from the above graph there’s a clear reversal of the national job-loss trend since Barack Obama took over the Presidency from George Bush; but political pot-shots aside there’s still damn-all to be encouraged about.

From THE EMPLOYMENT SITUATION – APRIL 2010 USDL-10-0589 released Friday, May 7, 2010

In April, the number of unemployed persons was 15.3 million, and the unemployment rate edged up to 9.9 percent (from 9.7 percent). […]

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) continued to trend up over the month, reaching 6.7 million. In April, 45.9 percent of unemployed persons had been jobless for 27 weeks or more. […]

About 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in April, compared with 2.1 million a year earlier. These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

Although the first four months of 2010 have together added about 600,000 jobs the average of job gains thus far is 150,000 per month which is the rate at which the national workforce grows naturally; in other words 150,000 ‘new jobs’ per month will produce exactly zero net gain.

Even if the monthly average new-job rate suddenly doubled and stabilized at 300,000 per month for the rest of the year the net gain would be 1.2 million jobs or about one-fifth of the jobs lost during 2008 (3.6 million) and 2009 (3.8 million).

There are presently 17.7 millions who are still unemployed and approximately 40 million enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (otherwise known as “Food Stamps”) for which one has to be living below the poverty line.

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In real terms the current federal minimum wage of $7.25 is worth less than nominal $5.15 of 1997 and the nominal $3.35 of 1981.

Now the ongoing BP Deepwater Horizon oil flood (it’s not a “spill”) is threatening the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands in the Gulf of Mexico and around Florida and hurricane season is about to start (during the hottest year in the hottest decade every recorded) whilst energy costs (with oil currently trading around $70 a barrel) are poised to rise as they do every summer.

Even if employment situation has hit rock bottom and can only improve from this point on the historical data suggests it will be another two years before the job losses of the official recession are recovered—in other words it will be 2012 before the US can return to the underwhelming employment levels of 2008.