Cooked or Accurate US Employment Numbers?
Cooked or Accurate US Employment Numbers?
by Stephen Lendman
For over a decade, US job prospects have been dismal. Since crisis conditions erupted in 2008, they’ve been dire for millions wanting work.
Since Obama took office in January 2009, job creation has been pathetic. Numbers reported during the weakest US recovery on record largely failed to compensate for others lost.
Monthly Labor Department (BLS) data report inaccurately. America’s broken jobs engine isn’t explained. The latest 7.8% unemployment rate is blarney. Based on the 1980s calculation model, real unemployment approaches 23%.
You’d never know it from irrational exuberance following the October 5 BLS report. “Better News on Jobs” headlined a New York Times editorial, saying:
The report “was stronger than expected.” It’s also true that more needs to be done “to maintain and create jobs,” The Times admitted. It also called the unemployment rate drop from 8.1% to 7.8% “partly due to a statistical fluke and partly to more part-time employment.”
It has nothing to do with the latter. It has everything to do with huge numbers of workers dropping out of the labor force monthly for lack of jobs. Healthy economies have them for virtually anyone wanting work. No longer.
Moreover, most jobs created are poor temporary or part-time low wage/low or no benefit ones. People take them to eat and avoid having to sleep on city streets.
The Times left unexplained what’s most important to know. A Washington Post editorial was worse. It headlined “Jobs report shows an economy on the move,” saying:
Before taking office in January 2009, Obama told Post editors that job creation was his “number-one priority.” Grade him F for not delivering or trying.
Not according to the Post, saying: “Friday’s employment report gave Mr. Obama a reason to crow.”
“Unemployment probably would have been worse but for some of (his) policies….”
False! Obama helped Wall Street, not Main Street. His so-called fiscal stimulus went mostly for corporate tax cuts and others to rich elites. Ordinary people got austerity, not help. Current dire conditions show it.
An October 9 NYT editorial claimed otherwise. Headlined “Conspiracy World,” it covered more than unemployment. It said many Republicans see Obama “as the center of a broad and malevolent liberal conspiracy to upend the truth.”
Both parties and supportive media scoundrels wage relentless war on it.
The latest unemployment numbers “make the administration look good.” They’re, in fact, dismal, but Republicans take issue with anything appearing to help Obama, even if untrue.
Some called the latest BLS numbers “cooked.” The Times berated anyone “mistrust(ing) the most basic functions of government.”
They should be exposed and denounced for what they are.
BLS and other federal bureaucrats resist “political pressure and manipulation,” claimed The Times. Conspiracists claim otherwise. Sometimes they’re right. Insiders don’t go public and admit it.
Instead of giving Obama undeserved credit, the Post, Times and other supportive media should explain how badly he failed.
Economist Paul Craig Roberts excels in doing it. On October 5, he headlined “Another Phony US Employment Report: Spiraling Number of Involuntary Part-Time Workers,” saying:
BLS reported jobs created fell way short of population growth. Healthy US economies would be producing nearly three times the reported number monthly.
BLS said 2.5 million “persons were marginally attached to the labor force.” Orwell couldn’t have said it better. They want work but can’t find it. BLS made them non-persons. Millions of others bump dangerously close to the same status.
America’s economy is sick. Roberts explains it often. He omits ambiguity. He says what people need to know. Dire US employment prospects show up monthly in huge involuntary part-time worker increases. Similar full-time dropouts also reflect it.
High-paying/good benefit full-time manufacturing, high-tech, and other professional jobs are disappearing. They’re now offshore in low-wage countries.
Growing numbers of Americans must settle for part-time Walmart, bartending, waitressing, ditch-digging, and other rotten service jobs they don’t want but have no choice.
America’s “New Economy” is as phony as Iraq’s WMDs. Reality falls way short of rhetoric.
Economist Jack Rasmus appears regularly on the Progressive Radio News Hour. He reports accurately on economic and financial conditions. Like Roberts, he explains what’s most important to know. He’s world’s different from tout-TV analysts and business press headlines.
He questioned the accuracy of BLS jobs reports. They’re not falsified, but something very much is wrong and has been previously.
For the last three years, an unexplained phenomenon repeated. Rasmus is one of few economists explaining it. It’s significant and needs highlighting. It suggests something out of whack, besides much else about suspect and inaccurate BLS reporting.
Each fall and winter, well above trend job gains are reported. In contrast, every spring/early summer gains “collapse. There is indeed something going on with the jobs numbers, though it’s not falsification,” says Rasmus.
Last month’s Household Survey mysteriously showed outsized gains. Given current conditions, they made no sense. They reflect one or two phenomena, believes Rasmus.
Employers are either replacing full-time workers with part-time/temp ones, or they’re hiring for the latter two categories because economic prospects aren’t encouraging.
In calculating its headline U-3 unemployment rate, part-time workers count the same as full-time ones. Hiring them in place of permanent employees reflects “very weak labor market” conditions.
Fictitious new business formations also help explain inordinately high part-time hiring. Estimates are suspect. Media scoundrels report them like gospel.
Something is very wrong with BLS reports. Problems are more extensive than one month’s numbers. When divergence is so great between the Establishment (Payroll) and Household (Population) Surveys, something indeed is amiss.
As or more important is the extraordinary seasonal divergence. One year’s aberration wouldn’t matter. Three consecutive years shows something else entirely. “Something is wrong.”
America’s economy is sick. Labor market reality reflects it. It’s not “rapidly mending.” Over 23 million remain jobless. Trillions of dollar of tax cuts, banker bailouts, corporate subsidies, and other handouts did nothing to mend things.
Nor did QE ad infinitum. The most radical ever monetary/fiscal experiment failed.
In the first so-called presidential debate, neither candidate discussed “anything remotely representing a jobs program.”
Obama and Romney don’t care. They want more for bankers, war profiteers, and other corporate favorites. People needs don’t matter. Bipartisanship reflects let-em-eat-cake indifference, government of, by, and for them alone, force-fed austerity, unfair “free” trade deals, permanent wars, and harsh crackdowns on non-believers.
Nothing ahead next year looks promising. Both parties are in lockstep. People needs aren’t addressed. America’s military alone actively recruits. Join the army. See the world. Lose a limb or two or three.
Lose your emotional stability and future prospects. Nothing abroad justifies fighting for. Nothing good domestically awaits returning vets. Hot wars target America’s enemies. Financial ones affect ordinary people back home. Both have deadly consequences.
A new IMF report signaled trouble. “The recovery has suffered new setbacks, and uncertainty weighs on the outlook,” it said. “Downside risks have increased and are considerable.”
Worldwide growth will match 2009 recession levels. Global recession may follow. Out-of-control government debt is pandemic. Expect higher interest rates, lower profits, and weak financial markets.
US 2013 fiscal cliff austerity assures harder times ahead. Similar cuts across Europe smother the continent. Employment gains are fake, a mirage. Business and consumer confidence are “exceptionally” fragile. Market rallies are head-fake traps.
Dismal prospects loom. Companies cut staff in hard times. Expect them in 2013. Rasmus predicts nasty recession conditions. Past forecasts he made proved accurate. Stay tuned. He, Roberts, and others reporting accurately will update their outlooks ahead.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at [email protected]
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.