Saturday, October 8, 2011

September's Job Numbers

Image credit: Clipped from this U.K. Guardian photo by Cujo359

There's not much to say that hasn't been said already. The basic problem, as has been true for all but a couple months of the Obama Administration, is that job growth has not even kept pace with the increase in the available supply of labor. Hugh put the bottom line pretty well over at Corrente:
In conclusion, 30 million is the number this month and it doesn't appear in the jobs report. 30 million Americans is a lot of Americans. It is a lot of families, a lot of hopes and dreams. The Republicans don't care at all. Neither do Obama and the Democrats. Even by Obama's own best case scenario, his jobs plan would create 1.9 million jobs (lasting about a year). The truth is the way his package is structured he would be lucky to create one million, but most of the plan is just an election campaign gesture. It is not meant to be enacted but to provide campaign talkingpoints. But even if it were, 1.9 million temporary jobs would, after taking into account population growth, improve the U-3 unemployment rate by maybe 0.4%. Take my estimate of one million jobs and it would not cover population growth and have no positive effect on the U-3 rate at all. And this is the response of our political Establishment to a problem whose size they say is 14 million. Only it is more than twice that big, 30 million. To be blunt, we are so screwed. Not only do we have a huge jobs crisis that is getting worse but our political duopoly is committed to doing nothing about it beyond some short term exploitation of it to score a few political points.

The BLS Jobs Report Covering September 2011: 30 Million Disemployed
What Hugh calls "disemployment" is all the people who either don't have jobs and want them, or have jobs that provide less than they need financially. If I were calculating that number, it would be higher, because I don't assume that the new batch of potential workers is like all potential workers. They're generally younger, and I assume that most, if not all of them, need a job. That may not be a valid assumption, either, but if my numbers are higher than Hugh's, that's why.

Still, by Hugh's calculation there are 30 million of us who either want a job or need a better one. That's as high as that number has ever been. People who tell you the economy is improving, in my opinion, are profoundly mistaken, and it's really hard to look at these numbers and not realize that. We have been losing ground nearly every month since President Obama took office, and we lost millions of jobs in the year before he arrived.

On the subject of the "jobs bill", I don't disagree one bit. What I wrote a couple of weeks ago:
If they had been serious about getting the economy kick-started, they would have proposed at least $2 trillion - the amount of the output gap to date, minus the $800 billion of the stimulus bill. They're off by almost an order of magnitude.

Hey, I Don't Want To Brag, But...
can now be confirmed by Hugh's calculation. My approach was essentially the same as Christy Romer's and Paul Krugman's. I looked at the difference between what the economy should have produced since 2007 and what it actually did, then assumed that the government would have to make up most of the difference. Hugh's was to look at the size of our disemployment problem and compare it to the number of jobs the bill is claimed to be capable of creating. In both cases, the answer is that the bill is a tenth what it ought to be.

And, as Hugh says, there isn't a chance that even this pitiful excuse for a bill will pass. It's a talking point, and what that talking point says to me is that even if the Democrats were free to do whatever they wanted, they wouldn't do anywhere near enough.

ite magna aut ite domum - it's definitely not the Democrats' motto.

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