Department of Labor
Unions have shrunk. The vocabulary we use to describe them should, too.
Barely 10 percent of American workers belong to unions. Could we please stop referring to "Big Labor"?
The new jobs report is out and it’s not good at all. It may not suggest the economy is slowing down, at least according to the economists I’ve consulted and read. But it certainly suggests the economy wasn’t growing as fast as we thought. And it’s not like anybody thought it was growing that fast in the first place. The Bureau of Labor Statistics announced Friday morning that the economy created just 69,000 jobs last month. It also revised its estimate for April, down to 77,000 from 115,000. Unemployment has gone up a tenth of a percentage point, to 8.2 percent.
[Guest post by Matt O'Brien] In early September, as memories of the debt ceiling fight faded with the summer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor acknowledged that the economic policy debate was about to change: “The focus now is jobs,” he told reporters. “The past eight months we’ve been all about cuts.” But it’s become clear that for Cantor and the rest of the Republican leadership, the focus is still on cuts.
Monthly job losses, graphic by Steve Benen The August jobs report is out from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. And it is ugly. Via Neil Irwin of the Washington Post: Job creation came to a halt in August, according to new government data that show an economic recovery that appears to be puttering out. The Labor Department on Friday reported zero net job creation in August, far worse than the 68,000 net jobs analysts had expected to be added. The unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent.
The Labor Department reported that the economy created 117,000 jobs in July and revised the prior months’ growth slightly to bring the average over the last three months to 72,000 jobs per month. This rate of job growth is below the 90,000 a month needed to keep pace with the growth of the labor force. Consistent with this fact, the employment to population ratio (EPOP) fell slightly to 58.1 percent, tying its previous low for the downturn.
The Wall Street Journal has a nice little scoop about a potential deficit fix emerging out of the debt ceiling talks: One idea floated in the talks is to curb the rise of federal benefits in a raft of programs by using a different measure of inflation to calculate annual cost-of-living adjustments. President Obama's deficit reduction commission recommended using a variation of the Labor Department's consumer-price index that tends to rise more slowly.
Friday’s job growth numbers, reported by the Labor Department, present a sobering picture for President Obama and the Democrats. With the pace of hiring down and the unemployment rate above 9 percent, the report suggests that the nation’s recovery is once again faltering. These numbers only underscore our continuing economic difficulties. And for a mix of political and policy reasons, the federal government has no significant new fiscal or monetary weapons left to deploy.
Today's job report was supposed to be discouraging. It wasn't supposed to be this discouraging. Via Catherine Rampbell at the New York Times: After several months of strong job growth, hiring slowed sharply in May, raising concerns once again about the underlying strength of the economic recovery. The Labor Department reported on Friday that the United States added 54,000 nonfarm payroll jobs last month, following an increase of 232,000 jobs in April.
Floyd Norris has been arguing that the Labor Department figures tend to underestimate job growth in the early part of a recovery (and underestimate job loss in the early stages of s recession.) Here's Norris's column from a month ago: The unemployment rate declined four-tenths of a percentage point in one month. There had not been a monthly decline that large in many years, but economists were unimpressed. After all, the decline was caused in no small part by a surprising reduction in the labor force, which could be an indication that more workers were discouraged and no longer looking.