The Hoover Institute fellow asserts in his March 16 Wall Street Journal editorialthat job employment numbers are more accurately measured by the number of total hours worked than by the number of people employed. The job gains often touted by the government don’t always tell the true story about U.S. employment. Lazear explains that an employer who replaces 100 40-hour-per-week workers with 120 20-hour-per-week workers is contracting, not expanding, operations. The professor says that this is true at the national level as well. Read the rest of this entry »
Chriss W. Street writes: The Obama Administration’s $5.8 trillion of big government deficit spending has caused the United States to suffer an “internal devaluation,” as American worker wages after inflation were forced down in each of the last five years.
American competitiveness increased by over 10% due to worker sacrifices, but all the benefits flowed directly to corporate officers and financial speculators. When the President recently lamented, “The combined trends of increased inequality and decreasing mobility pose a fundamental threat to the American dream,” he could count on the unwavering support from Warren Buffett, who was the last year’s biggest dollar gainer with a $12.5 billion jackpot. However, as recent polls demonstrate, American voters are now solidly against deficit spending.
During the 2012 presidential campaign, as I listened to the competing slogans from Republicans and Democrats, phrases repeated endlessly on the campaign trail, I had a bad feeling that the traditional GOP message was failing to recognize a hidden truth about modern America. A truth that the Democrat campaign understood, and successfully tapped into. Many Americans actually don’t want a job.
It was a subversive, nagging thought. I wanted to dismiss it. Because I wasn’t just thinking about the welfare-dependent, or Occupy Wall Street anti-capitalists, or the the aimless couch-surfers in their parents’ basement, or members of the undocumented criminal economy, or the federal and state workers, the privileged, well-connected political classes who enjoy job security and fat pensions—the other, perfectly legal criminal economy–I was thinking about a lot of normal, regular people. People for whom the tried-and-true GOP-playbook phrases about the ‘Great American Work Ethic’ fails to impress.
Work does suck. Even for those that don’t want a get-out-of-work-free card, the modern workplace is a numbing, soul-sucking, hamster-wheel cage that’s increasingly unrewarding, humiliating, and for tangible less reward.
Between the nanny middle-managers, human resources rule-makers, petty tyrant bosses, the modern workplace a less dynamic environment than it used to be.
Add to that the diminishing opportunities for advancement, portable technology invisibly leashing employees to workplace concerns even when they’re not on the clock, and flat wages, the American workplace has become a treacherous, all-bullshit, all-the-time environment that doesn’t exactly inspire industrious, risk-taking, enterprising folks the way it did a few elections ago.
Patrick Howley writes: The White House has taken down online White House visitor logs and blamed Congress.
The logs, which were posted beginning in December 2009 “as part of President Obama’s commitment to government transparency,” are the latest victims of a partial government shutdown that has temporarily idled 17 percent of the federal workforce.
“Due to Congress’s failure to pass legislation to fund the government, the information on this web site may not be up to date. Some submissions may not be processed, and we may not be able to respond to your inquiries,” reads the index page for the visitor logs.
“This dataset is currently private,” says the exact location on the page where the visitor logs used to be.
Employment in the motion picture and sound recording industries plunged in August, for a loss of 22,200 jobs. It was the sector with the biggest losses last month, and also represented the largest monthly decline since the Labor Department started keeping track of jobs in the industry in 1990.
Some have attributed the job losses to the X-rated film industry. After an H.I.V. scare, the industry temporarily shut down around the time that the Labor Department conducts its monthly survey.
It sounds like a plausible theory, but there are a few reasons to be skeptical.
First, the numbers are volatile from month to month, and for some reason have gotten more so in recent years. So the decline could just be noise. Read the rest of this entry »
`Outside of the federal government’s Bureau of Labor statistics, the Gallup polling organization also tracks the nation’s unemployment rate. While the BLS and Gallup findings might not always perfectly align, the trends almost always do and the small statistical differences just haven’t been worthy of note. But now Gallup is showing a sizable 30 day jump in the unemployment rate, from 7.7% on July 21 to 8.9% today.
This is an 18-month high.
At the end of July, the BLS showed a 7.4% unemployment rate, compared to Gallup’s 7.8%. Again, a difference not worthy of note. But Gallup’s upward trend to almost 9% in just the last three weeks is alarming, especially because this is not a poll with a history of wild swings due to statistical anomalies. Gallup’s sample size is a massive 30,000 adults and the rolling average is taken over a full 30 day period.
Gallup also shows an alarming increase in the number of underemployed (those with some work seeking more). During the same 30-day period, that number has jumped from 17.1% to 17.9%.
Black Entertainment Television (BET) founder Bob Johnson said Tuesday that the nation would “never tolerate white unemployment at 14 or 15 percent” and yet unemployment for the black community has been double that of white Americans for over 50 years.
“This country would never tolerate white unemployment at 14 and 15 percent. No one would ever stay in office at 14 or 15 percent unemployment in this nation, but we’ve had that double unemployment for over 50 years,” Johnson said while speaking at the National Press Club about the gap between whites and blacks in America.
“The national average is 7.7 percent, and African-American unemployment is 13.8 percent. To be honest, it’s probably greater than that when you count the number of African-Americans who have simply given up on finding employment,” said Johnson, who is also founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies.
In 1972, the unemployment rate for African-Americans was 11.2 percent in January of that year and as low as 9.4 percent in December of that same year. It dipped as low as seven percent in April 2000. The unemployment rate for blacks in February 2013 was 13.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Johnson said the challenge was to figure out why the unemployment rate for blacks has been so high, “and if that doesn’t change, somebody’s going to have to pay— 34 million African-Americans are not going to leave this country, millions of African-Americans who don’t have jobs.”
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