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Jon Talton

Analysis and commentary on economic news, trends and issues, with an emphasis on Seattle and the Northwest.

October 22, 2013 at 10:28 AM

Why the jobs report is scary

The government’s report on September employment came out today, delayed by the shutdown. Although late, it is valuable because it gives us the last snapshot of the economy before the costly effects of House Republicans closing the government and playing chicken with national default. In other words, jobs reports for the rest of the year will not be better and are likely to be far worse.

The 148,000 net new jobs created were little more than the 125,000 or so needed to keep up with the natural growth of the labor force. Not only that, but the third quarter saw a significant deceleration in job creation. In the first quarter, payrolls rose an average 207,000 per month, including 211,000 in the private sector (government austerity continued to hurt the public sector). That slowed to an average 182,000 in the second quarter.

With September’s data, the third quarter shows the monthly average at 143,000. Not only that, but private-sector hiring dropped to an average 129,000.

The furious debate over the budget did not concern our ongoing unemployment tragedy. The meme on the right is that millions are “takers” who won’t work. Yet three people are chasing every job opening. Corporations are sitting on record cash and profits, but they are not hiring at the rates of previous post-World War II recessions. The meme on the left…does it matter? America has little of a true elected left left, aside from Bernie Sanders.

The consensus, to which President Obama has subscribed, is that the debt and deficit are most important — this even though the deficit is going down and we can’t improve the debt situation substantially without an economy growing broadly, not just for the top 5 percent.

Thus, we get no intelligent response to the crisis, such as infrastructure investments or incentives for capital to move to job-creating investments instead of gambling and rent-seeking. Instead, we will be cutting food stamps that not only the unemployed but the working poor depend on.

So the “recovery” grinds on, no improvement in sight.

And Don’t Miss: Obamacare part-timerism — a myth debunked | Slate

Today’s Econ Haiku:

McDonald’s says ‘whoa!’

The recovery is weak

Cause and McEffect

 

 

 

Comments | More in Jobs/Unemployment | Topics: unemployment

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