Fairly good news, all things considering: 200K jobs added, unemployment ticked down to 8.5%. A good deal of that is seasonal, unfortunately: still, we can hope that it’s sustained in the upcoming months. (more…)
Diana Furchtgott-Roth of RealClearMarkets estimates that two provisions of the Republican version of the jobs bill – fast-tracking the Keystone ethical oil pipeline, and modifying eligibility on unemployment benefits could shave a full point off of the unemployment rate in 2012. The major obstacle? President Obama himself, who opposes both. Diana thinks that he shouldn’t. In fact, she thinks that Obama’s been given a gift by House Republicans:
Luck has once again struck President Barack Obama-if he has the wit to recognize it and use it.
(Via Ben Domenech’s Transom.)
…is the possibility that this White House will read no further than the reduction of the U-3 rate down to 8.6%, and conclude that they’ve done something right. When what instead happened here, based on general observations of people on my Twitter feed who know more about unemployment statistics than I do*, is that we’re seeing a combination of reduction in workforce, seasonal hiring, and revision of past numbers finally catching up with us. If none of that sounds particularly great, well, it’s not. The AP ‘s college-try spin to the contrary.
But enough negativity: if the White House would like to give the economy a real shot in the arm, there’s actually an easy way to do that. TURN THE KEYSTONE PIPELINE PROJECT BACK ON. And energy production generally.
*There are quite a few people out there who qualify.
Because this problem isn’t going to get any better any time soon.
Ferrie Bailey’s job should be easy: hiring workers amid the worst stretch of unemployment since the Depression.
A recruiter for Union Pacific Corp., she has openings to fill, the kind that sometimes seem to have all but vanished: secure, well-paying jobs with good benefits that don’t require a college degree.
But they require specialized skills—expertise in short supply even with the unemployment rate at 9%. Which is why on a recent morning the recruiter found herself in a hiring hall here anxiously awaiting the arrival of just two people she had invited to interviews, winnowed from an initial group of nearly five dozen applicants. With minutes to go, the folding chairs sat empty. “I don’t think they’re going to show,” Ms. Bailey said, pacing in the basement room.
Or maybe it’ll be plumber’s school. Or welding. Doesn’t really matter: until people don’t have to spend tens of thousands of dollars a year to get poorly educated for white-collar jobs that don’t actually exist, some sort of technical training is looking more and more attractive. We’re always going to need electricians and plumbers, and they can improve their minds on their lunch breaks. Which they’ll get, because we’re always going to need electricians and plumbers.
Heck, the way the gender gap is accelerating these days in white-collar employment they’ll end up marrying well, too. I am going to laugh my butt off if we end up back at the 1950s model, only it’s the woman with the 9-t0-5 office job and the man with the part-time work/primary caregiver role…
One year before the 2012 Presidential election, and the unemployment rate is 9%. Which is pretty much what it’s been since May. What’s that? What were we promised that it was going to be at this point?
Why, just over six percent:
I don’t know about the rest of you, but that just under 7% unemployment that we were told we’d be facing if we didn’t pass the ‘stimulus’ bill is looking pretty darn good right now.
Hopefully, Andrew Breitbart is there.
[UPDATE] Jaw-dropper of the he-ran-in, then he-ran-out press conference itself: the President actually – and shamelessly – embraced the so-called “Bush tax cuts” that he campaigned against in 2008, and (extremely reluctantly) went along with in 2010.
I really should add some commentary to this, but what can I say that this picture does not?
The President’s eventual remarks on the job report will be available here. Real Soon Now.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Wow. 7.4 percent unemployment. I remember those far-off days* when seeing that number would have made me wince and worry; now I whistle at how well the economy’s doing. 7.4 unemployment, these days? That’s great!
Canada added more jobs than economists forecast in June, led by part-time staff and transportation workers, keeping the country’s unemployment rate at a 2-1/2 year low.
Employment rose by 28,400, Statistics Canada said today in Ottawa, exceeding the 15,000 median estimate in a Bloomberg News economist survey. The jobless rate was unchanged at 7.4 percent, the lowest since January 2009.
Note that the Canadians never got above 8.7% unemployment, either. Then again, they also didn’t have the American Democratic party do a stimulus program for them.
PS: Job report out at 8:30 AM. Word is, higher than expected job growth, economy/unemployment still stagnant. Personally, I’m hoping that it’s better than that, and that the announced remarks from the President later this morning aren’t just more bravado on his part.
PPS: This… is bad. 18K jobs added, 9.2 unemployment, the White House is scheduled to quietly panic later today.
President Obama, during yet another promise to make job creation his number one priority in life. How many times does that make now? Six? Seven? Eight? But he means it this time!
“Not until everyone who wants a good job that offers a little security has one. Not until empty storefronts in town are open for business again. Not until working families feel that they’re moving forward again. That’s what drives me every day I go to work. You. Your families. Your jobs. Your dreams, and everything it takes to keep them in reach,” [Obama] said.
Moe Lane (crosspost)
Simple in execution, sort of…
The president has been unable to curb the nation’s nine percent unemployment rate, so he will be forced to put the best possible face on a sputtering recovery.
Democratic strategists say that means adopting an ungainly three-pronged political approach: Talking up economic gains since the darkest days of 2008 and 2009, highlighting a modest job-creation agenda blocked by Republicans and making the case that things would be far worse if the GOP were in charge.
…but completely impossible in practice, and here’s why: when the Democrats took Congress in 2007, people would get worried if you even suggested to them that the unemployment rate might hit 5.5%. When the Democrats took over the whole government in 2009, people were grimly preparing for an extended period where the unemployment rate would not come down below 8%. Today? We’d sacrifice a goat to get 8%; we’d also sacrifice one to get 5.5%, but nobody would even remotely expect it to actually work.
In other words: define ‘far worse.’ Only, the Democrats have to do it with an actual straight face.
I’ll summarize this ABC article really quickly: the economy’s bad, which means that any company that’s actually hiring has a larger-than-average pool to draw from. The economy’s so bad and the pool’s getting so large, in fact, that companies are finding that they can get away with explicitly stating that they’re not interested in hiring the unemployed (as Hot Air notes, long-term unemployed individuals are historically more of a risk than the employed). This is upsetting a bunch of people, because it’s not actually illegal to do this. What’s not explicitly said in the article is that the young are the ones who are really going to take it in the chin, since a lot of companies are taking a blanket “no-unemployed at all” policy in order to keep this simple.
And those are the people who I wish to address directly. (more…)
You may have heard that the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) has modified its survey of unemployment. There is probably going to be a good deal of confusion over what’s being changed, so let me summarize the situation.
- Official unemployment numbers are derived from the Current Population Survey (CPS), which surveys American households every month in order to gather various statistical data. The potential confusion lies in that the CPS isn’t uniform in how it defines unemployment; depending on the question, somebody may or may not be actually considered to be in the labor market.
- So the CPS will (over the next four months) start including people who have been out of work for between two and five years in their calculation of median length of unemployment, which the BLS pretty explicitly thinks is being under-reported. Previously, the cutoff date was only two years; anybody out of work for longer than that would be considered effectively not part of the work force for the purposes of determining this specific statistic.
- However, the CPS will not change the BLS definition of ‘unemployed‘ (no job, actively looking for work in the last month, ready to work) for the purpose of their most commonly reported-on statistic (the U-3, which is currently 9.8%). As Ed Brayton – no friend to the Right – notes, this means that the currently reported unemployment rate numbers will not change because of this policy.
- Take up any contradiction in the assumptions behind calculating median unemployment length and calculating the current unemployment rate with the BLS.