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This Is What Democracy Looks Like

Today's Note From a Madman

November 6, 2007

 

Confusing the Jobs Picture

The total jobs lost by the Bush administration in the month of October totaled 250,000. Sometime this week, President Bush will come out and tell us all that his administration has created 166,000 jobs.

How can we lose 250,000 jobs and have the Bushies still tell us all that we actually gained 166,000? Just tell us all that most of those 250,000 Americans no longer care to be employed.

Brilliant!

My brother, one of the remaining supporters of George W. Bush (and he still can't explain why) is always trying to push New York Post articles on me, especially the editorials. Yesterday, he showed me what he termed a non-political editorial which started out by informing the reader that the US economy had created an additional 190,000 jobs in the month of October.

"With Friday's employment report showing that the economy created an additional 190,000 new service sector jobs in October..."
-from Diana Furchtgott-Roth's New York Post article, "Clock Watching"

In truth, there were a projected 166,000 jobs created in the month of October with 190,000 added in the service industries. Of course, that means many other industries suffered, including (but not limited to):
Construction (5,000 jobs lost)
Manufacturing (24,000 jobs lost)

And even within the service-providing sector - the creator of the 190,000 jobs bragged on by the Post - the retail trade lost 22,000 jobs.

(Note: The numbers for September and October are still considered "projected". Historically speaking, projections are usually scaled down after the actual numbers come out.)

But all of these statistics, of course, only tell part of the story. We all know that our nation needs to create at least 150,000 jobs each and every month just to keep up with the growth in population. So, in truth, job creation, at best, just barely kept its head above water last month. The proof comes in the form of the 4.7 unemployment rate which remained unchanged from September. Using logic (not something in the Bushies playbook), if 166,000 jobs are created, one would assume that the White House's favorite jobs measuring stick would have dropped drastically. It didn't and a stagnant economy and job picture is the reason.

By now, we all now the Bush administration's ability to spin the jobs numbers. And as we look at the real employment statistics, we can see just how they're doing it. In an economy where real wages aren't even coming close to keeping up with inflation (CPI - the Consumer Price Index), the government is telling us that 465,000 Americans have decided that they no longer wish to work. And while 38 million Americans have joined the "stated" ranks of the unemployed, our nation LOST 250,000 jobs in total. The ingenious way in which the Bushies are keeping the real unemployment numbers low is by removing those lost jobs from being counted.

Are we to believe the Bush administration claim that 465,000 additional Americans no longer wish to work in these troubled times? Well, that is exactly what you have to believe if you think the job situation is just fine and dandy, as the Bushies want you to believe.

From September to October, the real increase in our possible labor force has increased by some 254,000 people. As a percentage of these real numbers (these numbers can't be spun without "misplacing" real people), our nation is only employing 62.74 percent of those who could be working. Compared to Bill Clinton's administration's 2000 percentage of 64.46 percent the current Bush numbers are atrocious. Had the Bush administration been able to keep up the status quo, in excess of four million Americans today would be employed.

In reality, a place where the great majority of us real Americans live, the economy stinks. As our hourly earnings show almost no growth at all (0.17percent), we see inflation rise by twice that amount (0.3%); and as inflation rises, staple items, such as gasoline, home heating fuels and other necessary commodities (including health care costs), rise several times more.

How can the Bush administration spin these numbers to their advantage almost each and every month? Spin, a.k.a. lies.

 

  September '07 October '07 Total Change
Civilian Labor Force 153,464,000 153,253,000 -211,000
Employment 146,257,000 146,007,000 -250,000
Unemployment 7,207,000 7,245,000 38,000
Not in Labor Force 78,997,000 79,462,000 465,000
Total Real Labor Force 232,461,000 232,715,000 254,000
Total percentage of Employed Americans     62.74%
Total percentage of Employed Americans (2000)     64.46%
Actual number of Americans who would have had jobs had the Bush administration kept up the Clinton administration numbers     -4,001,089
       
Average Hourly Earnings $17.55 $17.58 0.17%
       
Consumer Price Index (Latest: August to September) 0.3%

www.bls.gov

-Noah Greenberg


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-Noah Greenberg