Americans are increasingly foregoing paychecks due to disability, school or retirement
by Kasia Klimasinska
How come more people are retiring in their early 20s? Why are middle-age men becoming stay-at-home dads? What’s keeping women out of the workforce other than illness, kids or school?
Those are some of the questions raised in a new Bureau of Labor Statistics report that shows changes over the past decade in why people stay out of the labor force. Finding answers is key for the Federal Reserve as it maps the contours of a job market that’s becoming harder to predict with the aging of the baby boomers and shifting household priorities.
Here’s what the bureau found, broadly: Thirty-five percent of the U.S. population wasn’t in the labor force in 2014, up from 31.3 percent a decade earlier. (You’re considered out of the workforce if you don’t have a job and aren’t looking for one. That’s distinct from the official unemployment rate, which tracks those out of work who are actively job hunting.)
Drilling down into the numbers reveals more about the shifts in the reasons some people forego a paycheck. In all age groups, for instance, more people cited retirement as the reason for being out of the labor force, and it wasn’t just older people. Continue reading
Families are no longer fooled by ‘hope and change’ happy talk
By Stephen Moore • Washington Times
The stock market closed down for 2015 reversing one of the few positive accomplishments under the Barack Obama presidency. This has been a pretty prosperous time for the top two percent. For most Americans though — not so much.
A new report from Sentier Research based on Census data finds that median household income of $56,700 at the end of 2015 stood exactly where it was adjusted for inflation at the end of 2007.
That’s eight years of virtually zero income gain. And President Obama and his Washington political pundits wonder why voters are in such a cranky mood.
Last week the Joint Economic Committee of Congress issued a report on the Obama recovery loaded with even more dismal news. On almost every measure examined, the 2009-15 recovery since the recovery ended in June of 2009 has been the meekest in more than 50 years. Continue reading
Say jobs, economy not recovering as quickly as unemployment rate might suggest
by Ali Meyer • Washington Free Beacon
While the Federal Reserve claims that the United States is making progress towards its goal of maximum employment, some economists and policy experts disagree, citing poor labor participation rates and anemic wage growth to suggest that the economy is not recovering as quickly as the unemployment rate might suggest.
Fifty-six percent of economists polled by the Wall Street Journal, said that the United States would meet the Fed’s goal of “full employment” by 2016. In July, the Federal Open Market Committee said that there had been “cumulative progress” made toward this goal.
The Fed has maintained that it will not raise interest rates until the labor force reaches maximum employment and inflation hits 2 percent. Continue reading
We’ve lived through this over and over during the Obama presidency. Every time we see a hopeful sign that the economy’s shifting into a higher gear (a bullish 3.9% GDP growth in the second quarter, for example, after a near-recessionary 0.6% in the first), hiring slips back again into its slow-growth ditch.
No wonder voters are seething with anger. Continue reading
The left blames economic woes on everything except its hero president.
by Stephen Moore • Weekly Standard
Two weekends ago, the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City held its annual monetary conference in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The left flew in hundreds of protesters donning green T-shirts that demanded “Higher Wages for America” and chanting, “We’re Fed Up.” The crowd was an assortment of college kids on their summer break, disgruntled middle-aged teachers, senior citizens, and blue-collar union members. Think Occupy Wall Street.
I attended the Jackson Hole conference and chatted with protesters who came in from places as distant as New York and North Carolina and California. What was their beef? Two black men who appeared to be in their seventies explained the agenda: “We demand higher wages.” “We want an increase in the minimum wage.” “The Fed is intentionally holding down pay.” “Corrupt corporations have all the power.” “Unions need to be returned to power.” A social worker from Kansas City almost sobbingly told me of the plight of the poor who she cares for in her job, of the “women and minorities [who] are being left behind,” as she made an abstract plea for “social justice.” Continue reading
2016: Presidential candidates, both announced and prospective, used Labor Day to fire off some pretty harsh criticisms of President Obama’s economy. That’s not news. What is news is who was doing the firing.
Just listen to some of the heated rhetoric about the results that seven long years of Obamanomics have produced:
“I am hot. I am mad, I am angry.”
“There is something profoundly wrong when … the average American is working longer hours for lower wages and we have shamefully the highest rate of child poverty of any major country on earth.” Continue reading
by Jeff Cox • CNBC
The revelation, contained in a new survey Wednesday showing how much work needs to be done yet in the U.S. labor market, comes as the labor force participation rate remains mired near 37-year lows.
A tight jobs market, the skills gap between what employers want and what prospective employees have to offer, and a benefits program that, while curtailed from its recession level, still remains obliging have combined to keep workers on the sidelines, according to a Harris poll of 1,553 working-age Americans conducted for Express Employment Professionals. Continue reading
by Frank Camp • IJReview
According to a new study by Pew Charitable Trusts, using data from 2000-2013, the middle class population in America has “shrunk” in all 50 states:
The states that have suffered the most recently are:
2000: 54.6% middle-class
2013: 48.9% middle-class
Total loss: 5.7%
2000: 50.9% middle-class
2013: 45.7%% middle-class
Total loss: 5.2%
2000: 52.6% middle-class
2013: 47.5% middle-class
Total loss: 5.1%
States that have fared the best recently are:
Official statistics ignore the real hardships families face.
By Stephen Moore • The Washington Times
The big news from this week’s State of the Union address is that the economic “crisis is over.” Apparently, we’ve been rescued from a second Great Depression and everything this president has done to fix the economy has worked. All that was missing from Mr. Obama’s celebration was the old “Icky Shuffle” end zone dance.
This no doubt came as a bit of a shock to voters since the economy has been sickly for a long, long time. As recently as this fall, half of Americans were saying that the country is still in recession.
Conditions have improved in the last six months for sure, with growth accelerating, inflation low and stable, hiring picking up and gas prices tumbling.
Still, if things are as good as the White House says they are, why do we feel so bad? Why are we collectively so worried about the fragile future of our nation? Continue reading
by the Oklahoman Editorial Board
Thus it was no surprise that he parroted a Reagan trope in recently asking the question of whether Americans are better off today than when he took office — and then answering his own question by concluding that “the country is definitely better off than we were when I came into office.”
For Reagan, it was a campaign strategy drawn as a weapon against Jimmy Carter in 1980. Are you better off, he asked voters, than you were four years ago?
Such comparisons aren’t unique to Reagan and Obama, of course, but Reagan put his own stamp on it — quite successfully as it turns out.
“By every economic measure,” Obama told college students the other day, “we are better off than when I took office.” So not only has this president adopted the Reagan line (even crediting Reagan). He’s turned it into yet another example of repeated, robotic rhetoric in the endless campaign speeches made by a man “who is not running for anything except the exit,” in the words of Caroline Baum, a former Bloomberg News columnist. Continue reading
The number of people collecting paychecks rose more than had been expected and the tally of people counted as jobless fell, placing the unemployment rate — 5.9% — at its lowest level since 2008.
While the trends are positive, they offer only distant hope to a middle class that is taking home less pay than it used to and can only watch as the wealthy enjoy ever greater prosperity.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way under President Obama, tribune of ordinary folks who, as he likes to say, play by the rules. Continue reading
Public policy intended to make layoffs less painful actually made layoffs cheaper and more common.
Why has the labor market contracted so much and why does it remain depressed? Major subsidies and regulations intended to help the poor and unemployed were changed in more than a dozen ways—and although these policies were advertised as employment-expanding, the fact is that they reduced incentives for people to work and for businesses to hire.
You probably heard about the emergency-assistance program for the long-term unemployed that ended only a few months ago after running for almost six years. But there is also the food-stamp program. It got a new name and replaced the stamps with debit cards. Participants are no longer required to seek work and are not asked to demonstrate that they have no wealth. Essentially, any unmarried person can get food stamps while out of work and can stay on the program indefinitely. Continue reading
How often have you heard a Democrat prattle on and on about how well Barack Obama has done with the economy, given the mess he inherited? Usually, it’s some version of, “Things are getting better, but the economy the President started with was so awful, so he’s done as well as anyone could expect.”
When Ronald Reagan took over from Jimmy Carter in ’81, things were actually worse economically compared to when Obama took over from George W. Bush in ’08. Continue reading
by Grover Norquist
With the arrival and passing of yet another April 15th Tax Day, the federal government will consume 20.5 percent of America’s total income this year. It’s not as bad as in France or Greece, but somewhat worse than when we formed these United States. When we were Colonies under the British, the average tax burden on American colonists was 2 percent. That was considered unbearable, and the revolution was on.
There has been some slippage over the years. The 16th Amendment allowing the income tax opened the door to truly European, supersized government. Continue reading
After 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. Continue reading