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January: a chilly month for jobs

joblessAfter the U.S. economy added only a disappointing 74,000 jobs in December, the worst month of job creation in three years, economists expected the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Friday to report substantial improvement in January.

Well, the 113,000 jobs added last month certainly represents an improvement from December. But such job growth is far from substantial. The consensus of economists surveyed by Bloomberg ahead of Friday’s report was 180,000 jobs.

Some blamed the weak jobs number on January’s frigid weather in much of the nation.

Polar vortex or not, January marked an unhappy milestone for the nation’s jobless – exactly six years since the economy reached the peak number of jobs, as Businessweek pointed out.

Some 8.7 million jobs were lost during the so-called Great Recession of 2007-09. And in January, some four and half years after recession ended and the Obama recovery began, the U.S. was still nearly 1 million jobs shy of where it was six years ago. [Read more...]

Weak Economy: For every new job, five have given up

Weak EconomyThe recent job report was disappointing on several different levels. The new jobs number was appalling. The number of new jobs, 74,000 doesn’t even keep up with population growth. In fact, if it were doubled, it would still be short of keeping pace with population growth. Simply stated, it means we are moving backwards.

But it gets worse — a shockingly large and growing group of Americans are chronically jobless and have evidently given up hope of finding a job because they are completely outside of the workforce. Another 347,000 Americans left the workforce. [Read more...]

What about jobs?

unemploymentThe country needs jobs, not more jobless benefits. Congress and the White House have completely lost sight of this.

One blessing of the holiday season is upon us: The prospect that members of Congress will actually stay away from Washington for a few weeks, leaving what’s left of our liberties and livelihoods alone until the new year.

Glory, hallelujah, amen.

Of course, lawmakers will be back at it soon. And we’re already seeing signs that they have no idea how to address the serious problems average, struggling Americans face every day. [Read more...]

Obama signals he’s given up on the economy

obamanomicsby Glenn Harlan Reynolds

Last week, President Obama gave a much-touted speech on “income inequality.” But while inequality is a valid concern, it’s not so clear that unequal incomes are the biggest problem America faces.

More troubling — as figures as distinct as Slate’s Matthew Yglesias and National Review’s Mark Steyn both noted — is the growing divide between an America where people have jobs, and an America where people live off of government benefits.

As Yglesias observed:

The Washington, D.C., metropolitan area has become an island of prosperity in an ailing country. But D.C. itself has an 8.9% unemployment rate even as it sits at the center of a metro-area unemployment rate of just 5.4%. For people who haven’t gone to college — the kind of people who live in the neighborhood where Obama was speaking — the unemployment rate is 20%. That’s a disaster. And while Obama talked about plenty of things that could help those unemployed families — subsidized health care, better schools for their kids — he didn’t really talk about anything that would get them jobs. The biggest applause line of the speech was about raising the minimum wage, which is great, but also doesn’t help you very much if your current wage is $0. [Read more...]

Economic Malpractice

obamanomicsIt’s amazing how little President Obama has learned about economics in his four and a half years in the White House. Growth, incentives, tax reform, tax increases, private investment, the middle class, a second great depression, the sequester—all these issues have one thing in common: Obama doesn’t understand their role in our economy.

Nor does he appear interested in finding out. Members of the now-defunct President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness have privately talked about Obama’s economic shallowness. After the 2010 election, he invited four conservative economists to the White House. When former Congressional Budget Office director Douglas Holtz-Eakin broached the subject of the economic cost of Obamacare, the president dismissed it as politics, not economics.

Obama seems oblivious to the feeble recovery his policies have produced since the recession bottomed out in June 2009. The jobless rate is 7.3 percent. But if the millions who’ve dropped out of the job market altogether since Obama took office in January 2009 were counted, the unemployment rate would be 10.8 percent. “In other words, the United States faces a permanently larger pool of jobless Americans,” says the American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis. [Read more...]

Killing the American Dream with the Minimum Wage

Minimum WagePolitical crusades for raising the minimum wage are back again. Advocates of minimum wage laws often give themselves credit for being more “compassionate” towards “the poor.” But they seldom bother to check what are the actual consequences of such laws.

One of the simplest and most fundamental economic principles is that people tend to buy more when the price is lower and less when the price is higher. Yet advocates of minimum wage laws seem to think that the government can raise the price of labor without reducing the amount of labor that will be hired. [Read more...]

The US job market is dead in the water and not getting better

US Jobs Graph

 

How do you know the August jobs report was pretty bad? When the best thing you can say is that it might have met Wall Street expectations if not for a temporary shutdown in the porn industry last month. (The motion picture and sound recording industry lost 22,000 jobs in August, according to the BLS.) Sure, the White House can argue, as economic adviser Jason Furman did right after the report’s release, that the “incoming economic data broadly suggest that the recovery continues to make progress.” But consider the following:

1. This was the jobs report that was supposed to reflect an economy kicking into higher gear. Goldman Sachs, for instance, was looking for 200,000 net new jobs. And whisper estimates were even higher. Instead, the economy added just 169,000 jobs vs. the 180,000 consensus forecast. [Read more...]

The ObamaCare bomb

ObamaCare Costs Pork

ObamaCare Costs Pork

The scheme is about to blow up the incentive to work

A mere three weeks remain before the Obamacare exchanges open for business. The likely result will be the closing doors on Main Street, as shopkeepers and entrepreneurs shut down, unable to make ends meet. It’s clear that the wounded economy can’t cope with the exploding costs ahead.

Ohio announced that premiums would rise in the individual market by an average of 88 percent next year. Premiums will rise 72 percent in Indiana, 125 percent in Wisconsin. Even California, with its relatively robust individual market, is bracing for increases of 66 percent.

The Obamacare train wreck bearing down on us is about far more than higher costs. [Read more...]

Worse than Carter

carterThe “labor force participation rate” hit a record low hit at 63.2 percent. This represents the percentage of Americans over the age of 16 who have jobs (even if it is part-time or just a temporary job), or are looking for a job. That is according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ job numbers released this past Friday.

So after Barack Obama has been in office for 4 and 1/2 years and spent trillions on stimulus, we have a record low number of Americans over the age of 16 who have any job at all or are even optimistic enough to be looking for a job. Almost 40% of the American population over the age of 16 is unemployed or so depressed that they’ve given up looking for work. That is not good news, despite Obama’s claims that we are heading in the right direction.

Jimmy Carter must be smiling because before last Friday, he held the record for the worst labor force participation rate. [Read more...]

Jobless rate is worse than you think

unemployment-numbersby Heidi Shierholz

On Labor Day, we celebrate the American worker. And more than four years since the Great Recession ended in June 2009, the unemployment rate is 7.4%, a big improvement from the high of 10% in the fall of 2009. Unfortunately, the rate is hugely misleading: Most of that improvement was for all the wrong reasons.

Remember, jobless workers are not counted as being part of the labor force unless they are actively looking for work, and the decline in the unemployment rate since its peak has mostly been the result of workers dropping out of — or not entering — the labor force.

According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, if the labor market were healthy, the labor force would number about 159.2 million. But the actual labor force numbers just 155.8 million. That means about 3.4 million “missing workers” are out there — jobless people who would be in the labor force if job opportunities were strong.

Given the weak labor market, they’re not actively looking for work and so aren’t counted. If those missing workers were actively looking, the unemployment rate would be 9.4%. [Read more...]

Obamacare Will Foster a Part-Time Job Economy

ObamaCare Sink Holeby Richard M. Salsman

The “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (aka, “ObamaCare,” enacted in March 2010) is so “affordable” that more than 1200 companies (half the number) and unions (half the number) have sought and obtained partial waivers from its burdens and mandates. The U.S. Congress itself had the audacity to exempt itself from the law, a fact acknowledged only this week by the Office of Personnel Management (the federal government’s HR department).

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal reported on “ObamaCare’s health-insurance sticker shock,” on how health insurance “premiums in individual markets will shoot up due to the mandates that take effect in 2014,” specifically: “requirements that health insurers (1) accept everyone who applies (guaranteed issue), (2) cannot charge more based on serious medical conditions (modified community rating), and (3) include numerous coverage mandates that force insurance to pay for many often uncovered medical conditions. . . . Insurers are adjusting premiums now in anticipation of the guaranteed-issue and community-rating mandates starting next year.” A more recent Journal report explains why premiums “could soar” (i.e., triple) even for the healthy under ObamaCare. [Read more...]

A Jobless Recovery Is a Phony Recovery

More people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.

by Mortimer ZuckermanJobless Recovery

In recent months, Americans have heard reports out of Washington and in the media that the economy is looking up—that recovery from the Great Recession is gathering steam. If only it were true. The longest and worst recession since the end of World War II has been marked by the weakest recovery from any U.S. recession in that same period.

The jobless nature of the recovery is particularly unsettling. In June, the government’s Household Survey reported that since the start of the year, the number of people with jobs increased by 753,000—but there are jobs and then there are “jobs.” No fewer than 557,000 of these positions were only part-time. The survey also reported that in June full-time jobs declined by 240,000, while part-time jobs soared by 360,000 and have now reached an all-time high of 28,059,000—three million more part-time positions than when the recession began at the end of 2007. [Read more...]

Jobs numbers still aren’t working

by Terry Keenanjobless

The most recent jobs report had a “robust” 195,000 new positions created last month as the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent. Hallelujah!

Unfortunately, the problem that has stunted any green shoots in jobs recovery persisted in June and shows no signs of abating.

The problem continues to be that a huge swath of the jobs being created are part-time or temporary.

Is a job really a job if it’s only for a few weeks, or if workers have to show up every morning to see if there is temporary work that day? Should one part-time job be counted the same as a full-time position? [Read more...]

Recovery woes: America’s second-largest employer is a temp agency

Part Time Workby Ashe Schow

Behind Wal-Mart, the second-largest employer in America is Kelly Services, a temporary work provider.

Friday’s disappointing jobs report showed that part-time jobs are at an all-time high, with 28 million Americans now working part-time. The report also showed another disturbing fact: There are now a record number of Americans with temporary jobs.

Approximately 2.7 million, in fact. And the trend has been growing. [Read more...]

Obamacare is slowing economic growth and costing Americans jobs

Weak EconomyWith the recent news that the Obama Administration will postpone the healthcare mandate on employers (but not on individuals) until after the mid-term elections, a new Gallup poll of 603 small business owners sheds some very interesting light on the Administration’s political calculations. The Gallup poll revealed that Obamacare is having a dramatic negative effect on the economy and on the ability of Americans to find jobs.

The Gallup poll reveals that more than 40 percent of small-business owners say that Obamacare has caused them to institute a hiring freeze. Nearly one in five small business employers say that Obamacare has caused them to fire existing employees.  Almost one in five small-business owners said they have already cut back their workers’ hours to avoid adverse impacts of Obamacare. About one in four employers “are weighing whether to drop insurance coverage.” [Read more...]

ObamaCare now even more unpopular … and with good reason

by Stephen F. HayesObamacare Opt Out

It’s been one year since the Supreme Court decision that allowed Obama administration officials to begin implementing the Affordable Care Act, and the frequency and volume of reports about the challenges facing those reforms—and the difficulties they are visiting on those who were supposed to benefit from them—are increasing dramatically.

Jeff Vernon, an employee of Scrambler Marie’s restaurant in Toledo, Ohio, told a local reporter that the owners were cutting his hours to avoid penalties under Obamacare. Businesses with more than 49 employees have to offer insurance to all “full-time” workers—defined as those who put in 30 hours or more each week. The result, for Vernon: $400 less in take-home pay every month. “That leaves me $27.50 for two weeks to live off of,” he explained. Vernon said the owners tried to avoid the cuts but didn’t have any other recourse. “They were real good about that,” he added. “The last thing they wanted to do was cut people. They don’t want to fire anybody.” [Read more...]

More Evidence That ObamaCare Is Costing Jobs

‘It’s about jobs.”pelosi

That was how then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi described ObamaCare shortly before President Obama signed it into law.

Turns out she was right, although not in the way she meant.

Pelosi was, after all, promising that ObamaCare would create jobs — 4 million of them. But we now know that ObamaCare is killing jobs and slashing workers’ hours instead.

The most recent evidence comes from a Gallup survey of small businesses, commissioned by Littler Mendelson, a labor & employment law firm. Gallup found that more than four in 10 companies have frozen hiring because of Obama-Care, and almost one in five have cut workers to minimize the cost of the law. [Read more...]

Wind power has failed to deliver what it promised

The wind-power industry is expensive, passes costs on to the consumer and does not create many jobs in return. The claims of the green lobby that wind farms will generate abundant energy and economic growth are not consistent with the facts.

by The Telegraph, Londonwind-farm

Today, The Sunday Telegraph reveals how many ”green jobs’’ the wind-power industry really generates in exchange for its generous subsidies. The figures show that for 12 months until February 2013, a little over £1.2  billion was paid out to wind farms through a consumer subsidy financed by a supplement on electricity bills. During that period, the industry employed just 12,000 people, which means that each wind-farm job cost consumers £100,000 – an astonishing figure. [Read more...]

Obama Energy Policy Prevents Economic Growth

by U.S. Representative Tom Cole   energy-policy

If only President Obama would take his approach to energy production and apply it to the national debt, we’d be down to 2007 levels in no time. According to a new report from the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service (CRS), his administration’s policies have caused production on federal lands to plummet.

Although the president likes to claim that production of oil and natural gas has increased during his tenure, the growth driving the current energy boom has occurred entirely on non-federal lands.  On federal lands subject to government control, it’s a different story. Between 2010 and 2012, oil production on federal lands fell by more than 23 percent to levels lower than those in 2007.  [Read more...]

Americans Are Migrating to States with Lower Taxes and Less Regulation

by John Merline   red state blue state

Americans are migrating from less-free liberal states to more-free conservative states, where they are doing better economically, according to a new study published Thursday by George Mason University’s Mercatus Center.

The “Freedom in the 50 States” study measured economic and personal freedom using a wide range of criteria, including tax rates, government spending and debt, regulatory burdens, and state laws covering land use, union organizing, gun control, education choice and more.

It found that the freest states tended to be conservative “red” states, while the least free were liberal “blue” states. [Read more...]