The “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. Continue reading
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%. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
More people have left the workforce than got a new job during the recovery—by a factor of nearly three.
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. Continue reading
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? Continue reading
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. Continue reading
With 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.” Continue reading
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.” Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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.
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
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. Continue reading
It is not surprising that there are liberals in Washington proposing new stealth carbon taxes. What is surprising is that a few “conservatives” support the idea. Even more inexplicable is the fact that some have called the carbon tax a “once in a generation opportunity.”
Let me see if I’ve got this right. A huge, gargantuan tax increase — one that would make everything cost more — is a “once in a generation opportunity?”
Every single day for the last 30 years and every single day for the next 30 years, liberals will crawl over top of each other to be the first one to sign-on to a new energy tax. This is a deal that liberals will always be willing to give. Continue reading
The economy is not some theoretical concept or ivory tower idea. A strong economy means that Americans have jobs and growing incomes. It means that families can provide their children with the care and opportunities that will provide for a bright future. Conversely a weak economy means fewer jobs and less opportunity. It means lower incomes and it means that families have to do without.
Too often big government slows the economy by taxing and spending too much. Those who support more and more government taxes and spending always argue that government can do something good with the money. But the problem with that argument is that families and businesses also can do a lot of good with that money if government doesn’t take it away from them. Continue reading
In early 2011, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on the constitutionality of ObamaCare (né the Affordable Care Act of 2009). One would think that the time for such a hearing might be before passage of the act, but that is the way we do things around here, and besides, that is not the point of this column, which (as you can see from the title), is about the minimum wage.
The point derives from an exchange between Utah’s freshman (very fresh at the time, only a day or two old) Senator Mike Lee and Walter Dellinger, heavyweight lawyer, professor of constitutional law at Duke University, Assistant Solicitor General, presidential legal adviser, and then Acting Solicitor General in the Clinton Administration. In the course of the exchange, Lee wondered why, if the Interstate Commerce Clause would support a requirement for everyone to buy insurance, it wouldn’t support a requirement that every citizen buy (if not actually consume) three servings of leafy green vegetables every day. (That was in the heady days when supporters of ObamaCare still thought it was a regulation, before Chief Justice Roberts discovered that it was actually a tax.) Continue reading