The struggling U.S. economy added a measly 115,000 jobs last month, the third straight month of declines in the pace of job growth creation. More than 15 million Americans are unemployed or underemployed. This poor performance comes years after Washington declared the recession caused by the reckless and unpunished practices of Wall Street officially over.
Both the number of unemployed persons , officially at 12.5 million and the unemployment rate at 8.1%, changed little in April as the two ruling parties bickered and fought over ideological positions that they hope will keep or increase the number of taxpayer-fed politicians of their respective clans in office this November. The U.S. economy by any objective measure is imbalanced, with the top 1% holding more than 40% of the nation’s wealth.
The no-jobs Obama Administration tried to spin the bad news. “As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is helpful to consider each report in the context of other data that are becoming available,” said Alan B. Krueger, head of the President’s council of economic advisers, whose nose didn’t grow longer because it was a written not oral statement. Americans aren’t reading too much into the data, what they are seeing is too little job creation.
Even the AFL-CIO union, staunch Obama supporters since the Republicans would like to annihilate the workers rights group, is impatient with results. “Our economy continues to be severely off balance. We need our policymakers to commit to robust and sustained policy action to create jobs on the scale needed to put America back to work, the embattled union said in a statement.
Republicans, whose party destroyed more jobs under the Bush Administration since another Republican, Herbert Hoover, blithely presided over the Great Depression, tried to seize political advantage. Mitt Romney, one of the wealthiest men ever to run for president said, “Anything over 4% is not cause for celebration.”
Even the Wall Street Journal, which usually promotes the interests of the super rich, starting with owner Rupert Murdoch who is having his own problems with influencing politicians and illegal wire-tapping innocent people for personal aggrandizement, had trouble swallowing that one.
The Journal ran a story entitled “Romney’s Lofty Job Goals Look Tough to Hit,” and even correctly pointed out the 4% was last seen in 2000. The Wall Street Journal, however, omitted that this relatively low rate of unemployment was achieved under the waning years of the Democratic Clinton Administration, which also by the way balanced the budget and left Bush with a surplus, which was promptly squandered with tax cuts for the super rich. The record shows that the employment situation and the budget deficit worsened under eight years of Republican George W. Bush’s stewardship. Tax cuts for the rich have not and do not create jobs, as any objective look at the data will show.
Among the major U.S. worker groups in April, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.5%), adult women (7.4%), teenagers (24.9%), whites (7.4%), and Hispanics (10.3%) showed little or no change, while the rate for blacks (13%) declined slightly over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2% in April and unchanged changed from a year earlier.
Particularly unsettling is that long-term unemployed, those jobless for 27 weeks or more was unchanged at 5.1 million in April. These individuals made up – gulp – 41.3% the unemployed. This ongoing human tragedy is destroying lives, and running up the deficit since these unfortunate individuals do not pay income taxes at a time of record deficits. They would like to contribute to wealth creation but the system is rigged against them. Whatever happened to “we the people” the profoundly all-embracing opening line of the finest political compact of the 18th or for that matter any century?
U.S. manufacturing continues to point the way out of this mess. Building things and selling them creates genuine wealth; rating junk mortgages as investment grade, and selling them to pension plans does not. Manufacturing added a mere 16,000 jobs in April. That is small change compared to the loss of millions upon millions of high paying manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the Great Recession, which any American looking at foreclosed homes and condos, shuttered businesses and empty commercial property can tell you is still ongoing.
The economy has added only 489,000 manufacturing jobs since January 2010. There was bitter irony for unemployed or under-employed people that President Obama was in Beijing this week kowtowing to the Chinese who now own huge amounts of U.S. Treasury issued debt, and whose under-valued currency has made it an exporter that is destroying American jobs each month, every month.
Parting words to the AFL-CIO: “Not only has job growth in the recovery been slow, but the job losses came on top of decades of inadequate job growth, wage stagnation and growing inequality.”