Labor Department: More Americans Are Going Back to Work
Adam Martin of the Atlantic brought to light the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report which is broadcasting some relatively cheery news, at least on the surface. It turns out the national economy posted 243,000 new jobs added in January, which according to an insta-pundit means the Great Recession has ended, right?
Not really. If anything, the drop from a lofty 8.5 percent to a more down-to-earth 8.3 percent means private sector businesses are actually hiring again, in increments. That makes sense: if there is hardly any demand for what you sell, you may not have the money to hire someone new. But other businesses seem to hoard capital, which has been well-documented.
The Bureau said the growth in jobs put on the payroll included “large gains in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and manufacturing.” Anyone who isn’t good at waiting tables or making widgets is out of luck. The BLS also said about 10,000 new miners descended to work.
“Unemployment rate” is deceptive: note the axiomatic exclusion of those who are no longer in the workforce, and those who are barely employed, say, a part-time gig that pays some scratch but not enough to pay the bills. So, it is in fact good news that the official, insurance-paying (for now) type of being out of work has dropped by a fraction of another decimal point because, living in such a massive country, that adds up to nearly a quarter-million new jobs added. There is some kind of recovery out there going on, slowly. As the Wall Street Journal knows—and even the Occupied Wall Street Journal may’ve known it too—the national economy has to absorb about 150,000 new jobs just to keep pace with population growth. So another 100,000 on top of that is positive.
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