03.31.2010 0

The Job-Loss Recovery

  • On: 04/15/2010 10:31:06
  • In: Economy
  • By Robert Romano

    In March 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) household survey, the unemployment rate rose from 9.687 percent to 9.749 percent. In other words, the economy shed some 134 thousand jobs in March: BLS’ numbers show an increase in the unemployed from 14.871 million to 15.005 million.

    One would not know this, of course, if one went simply by the world according to Barack Obama. Or the BLS, which reported “the unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent.” Or by media accounts of the employment situation, for that matter.

    “We are beginning to turn the corner,” said a breathless Obama. He added, “this month’s increase of 162,000 jobs was the best news we’ve seen on the job front in more than two years.”

    Where did he get that number from? The BLS establishment survey of non-farm employers. The problem with that number is that it does not include the entire population of jobs.

    Neither did the media for that matter. “[T]he unemployment rate remained at 9.7 percent for the third straight month,” reported MSNBC.com. “March unemployment rate unchanged at 9.7%” reports the unscrupulous Washington Post headline. “Unemployment Rate Unchanged” reads another headline at NPR.org.

    But it did change. It went up — from 9.687 percent to 9.749 percent. So, why did the media report it as “unchanged”? Because when BLS publishes its monthly percent number, it rounds the numbers.

    And, when it reports the “change” from month-to-month, it takes the difference between the rounded employment rates. So, assures the BLS, the unemployment rate neither increased nor decreased in March. The net change reported was “0.0”.

    And the media all went along for the ride! They bought it — hook, line, and sinker.

    It gets worse. Not only did the nation shed 134 thousand jobs last month alone, since July 2009, it has lost 543 thousand total. Why is that significant?

    Besides the tragedy for all of those families struggling to make ends meet, according to Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, testifying on Capitol Hill yesterday, “a recovery in economic activity appears to have begun in the second half of last year.”

    Remarked Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson upon learning of Bernanke’s testimony, “Obama has not even given the American people a jobless recovery. He has given them a job-loss recovery.”

    Bernanke had more bad news on the jobs front: “a significant amount of time will be required to restore the 8-1/2 million jobs that were lost during the past two years.” Significantly, Bernanke said that “in March, 44 percent of the unemployed had been without a job for six months or more,” meaning the current joblessness will not be easily reversed.

    Unfortunately, the Obama Administration is not doing anything that might actually help.

    Instead, said Wilson, “Obama is recklessly driving up the national debt, destroying the dollar, taking over health care, taking over the financial system, proposing to raise taxes and punish wealth creation, artificially drive up the cost of energy with a punitive tax on carbon emissions, and all the while continuing the easy money monetary policies that caused the financial crisis to begin with.”

    It gets even worse than that. Obama economic advisor Paul Volcker has proposed a new national sales tax to address steepening federal budget deficits. The nation is facing the worst fiscal calamity in human history, the economy still cannot create jobs, and the best government can offer are more taxes to pay for yet more unsustainable spending.

    In its ten-year budget plan, the White House projects that the national debt will grow by $10.6 trillion by 2020. Wilson said that “will mean less opportunities for private job creation, as government sucks much-needed resources from the economy to finance its unsustainable trajectory that threatens to forever wreck the nation’s finances.” That’s exactly right.

    The economy cannot create enough jobs fast enough to pay for such an expansion of government. But then, the American people should not expect the Administration to be honest about those numbers, either, should they?

    Robert Romano is the Senior Editor of ALG News Bureau.

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