Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Rosy Jobs Report Fails to Mask Economy's Continuing Weakness

The New American
May 13, 2014

Rosy Jobs Report Fails to Mask Economy's Continuing Weakness
The headlines from Friday’s jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) were rosy: Employment rose by 288,000 (exceeding expectations), while the unemployment rate fell by 0.4 percent, ending at 6.3 percent, just above the figure dating back to September 2008.
The talking heads from the administration looked at only those headlines and took credit for the gains. Jason Furman, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisors, claimed that Congress is standing in the way of even better performance:
The President continues to emphasize that more can and should be done to support the recovery, including acting on his own executive authority to expand economic opportunity, as well as pushing Congress for additional investments in infrastructure, education and research, an increase in the minimum wage, and a reinstatement of extended unemployment insurance benefits.

Parsing the numbers, however, reveals that the labor force participation rate actually dropped by 0.4 percent, down to 62.8 percent. In a healthy economy, people would be actively looking for work while those working would be getting paid more. Neither is happening.
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