"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Friday, October 7, 2011

Treading Water

We're treading water on jobs according to the September data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning.   Here are the key points:

  • Unemployment rate was unchanged at 9.1 percent.  Since April, the rate has held in a narrow range from 9.0 to 9.2 percent.
  • The economy added 103,000 non-farm jobs, but 45,000 represented Verizon employees returning to work after a strike.
  • The number of unemployed persons, at 14.0 million, was essentially unchanged. 
  • Unemployment rate for African-Americans was 16.0 percent, showing little change.  
  • The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks and over) was 6.2 million.  
  • The civilian labor force participation rate, at 64.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, at 58.3 percent, were little changed.
  • The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) rose to 9.3 million in September. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
  • In September, about 2.5 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, about the same as 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.
I've said this before, but it bears repeating.   We have a workforce of approximately 150 million Americans.   That workforce grows by 1-2% every year due to population growth, including immigration.   That means we need to create 1.5-3.0 million new jobs every year just in order to keep up with population growth.   And that means that 103,000 jobs, which translates into a little over 1.2 million new jobs annually, isn't even keeping up with population growth.   The only reason the unemployment rate isn't going up is because more and more people are falling out of the workforce, either becoming discouraged or else working in the underground economy.  

We desperately need to change our policies toward business, and that means we desperately need to get rid of Obama in 2012.   What worries me is whether we can wait that long.

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