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Sunday, January 08, 2006

December jobs reports

Yahoo's article is titled" Bush shrugs off weak US jobs data" - but Nostradamnthem doesn't. Here's the deal. This from Bush:

"President George Bush has shrugged off weaker-than-expected jobs figures, hailing the strong US economy as "the envy of the industrialised world".

Mr Bush also declared the US economy was heading into 2006 "with a full head of steam", at a speech in Chicago.

He trumpeted rising consumer confidence and strong retail sales as evidence of America's economic strength. The claims came despite figures showing 108,000 jobs were created in December, less than half analysts had forecast. "

Now, I couldn't find any analysis of the details behind those jobs created in December, but I did find this tidbit for November:

"The Bureau of Labor Statistics today reported that total employment grew by 215,000 jobs in November. At the same time, the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. New jobs are certainly welcome, but it is crucial to keep this employment growth in perspective. For this business cycle, i.e. since March 2001, the labor market performance is still too weak to allow middle-class families to escape the debt trap.

Total employment growth has been the lowest of any business cycle. On average, employment has grown by 0.02 percent per month since March 2001. The business cycle with the next slowest employment growth ended in August 1957 and had average employment growth that was more than four times as fast. Only seven months in this business cycle, out of 56, have seen above average employment growth. That is, for 87 percent of this business cycle, employment growth has been below average. November 2005 had employment growth of 0.16 percent, which remained still below the long-term average of 0.18 percent before this business cycle."

So, with twice the jobs created in November as in December, it wasn't enough jobs to drop the unemployment rate by a decimal of a percentage point. Note, not even a drop from 5.o to 4.9%. What this tells me is that it is very likely that while new jobs were created, an equal number of 'old' jobs were lost. How is that a booming economy?

And what evidence is there to think that December was any different? In fact, isn't it just possible that most of those 'new' jobs were merely Katrina clean-up jobs, which will only last a few months, so that the 'good news' of November and December will be the 'bad news' of April? Wait, there's more!

"families need more jobs and higher wages to make ends meet. Inflation-adjusted hourly wages were about as high in October 2005, the last month for which data are available, as in March 2001. Inflation-adjusted weekly earnings in October were 0.7 percent lower than in March 2001. Today's figures from the BLS show wages continued to be flat or even lower than at the start of the business cycle in November. Hourly wages for production, non-supervisory workers, the vast majority of workers, rose by 0.2 percent, while weekly earnings actually fell by 0.1 percent, before the effects of inflation are even taken into account."

So, we are not only being lied to about the 'new jobs', but we're making less money for the jobs we do have, or (more likely) the jobs that Americans lost paid better than the 'new jobs' Bush's economic fantasies create. We'll all end up on welfare thanks to him, and the Chinese government will be the one sending the checks.

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