In a speech last Wednesday President Obama said, "Over the past 40 months, our businesses have created 7.2 million new jobs. This year, we are off to our strongest private-sector job growth since 1999."
But is that really true? And one also has to wonder...just what kind of jobs have those businesses been creating over the past 40 months? It's not always about the quantity, but the quality as well.
Note that Obama said in the private sector. From February 2010 to June 2013 there were 6.582 million nonfarm payroll jobs gained. Of those jobs, 7.201 million were from the private sector, so in this regard Obama is correct.
As Michael Hudson points out about Obama's claim on job growth, "It is not strong job growth when the jobs being created are mainly service-sector jobs paying the minimum wage or barely above it. This is not growth; it is barely keeping up with the working age population."
We can verify this fact with the Atlanta Fed's jobs calculator. This shows that under the current, awful, terrible conditions, the United States needs 107,096 jobs per month to keep up with population growth. A simple back-of-the-napkin calculation of times 40 shows that to keep up with the population since February 2010, the U.S. needed to gain 4.3 million jobs. The fact is, the United States is still to this day down 2.14 million jobs --- meaning, Obama's payroll brag is quite the statistical spin on a still bad situation for the American worker.
Additionally most of the private sector jobs are refusing to hire Americans --- and this is while profits are at roaring highs. Also, the rate of hiring is lower than it was a year ago.
And what kind of jobs have been created over the last four years?
Michael Grabell of ProPublica, and its editor-in-chief Steve Engelberg, discussed how the temporary work sector has ballooned, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the total job growth since 2009. As noted in this excellent article about the temp sector:
The temp system insulates companies from many employer responsibilities, while pushing worker's pay below minimum wage. Some of the country's biggest retailers have come to rely on (and profit from) this growing work force. (And ProPublica also reports that, on average, temps earn 25 percent less than permanent workers.)
And what other kind of jobs are being created? According to a new study by the National Employment Law Project, opportunities for advancement in the fast-food industry is exceptionally rare. Less then 2 percent for fast-food industry jobs belong to the executives, while more than 89 percent of all jobs in the fast-food industry belong to cooks, cashiers, delivery workers and other non-managerial workers. Fast-food giants like McDonald’s and Yum! Brands (the operator of Taco Bell and KFC) are among the nation's largest low-wage employers. Front-line fast-food jobs --- which include cooks, cashiers, delivery workers and other non-managerial positions --- pay a median hourly wage of $8.94 per hour, and the workers stay in these positions for years at a time with no opportunity for advancement.
The unemployment rate was 10% by December 2009, when there were officially 15.3 million unemployed. Although, at some time it appears that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has since revised this down to 9.9% when they say, "Over the year, these measures were down from 15.2 million and 9.9 percent, respectively". So unemployment peaked at 15.2 million in 2010 but it's now at 11.8 million in 2013 --- for a difference of 3.4 million less people counted as unemployed since the depth of the recession.
So as Obama claims, are we really off to our strongest private-sector job growth since 1999? No actually. Comparing January to June's private payroll growth for 2011 with 1.129 million jobs gained during that period was actually better than 2013 with only 1.070 million private sector jobs gained so far this year.
Also, the number of people receiving unemployment insurance benefits in all programs (unadjusted) has risen from 4,523,206 on June 29th to 4,840,609 as of July 6th. At the current rate of hiring, how long will it take to put 20 million Americans (11.8 million unemployed + 8.2 million who hold part-time jobs, but want full-time work) back to work with regular full time jobs?
And why even bother asking for healthcare coverage, sick days and paid vacations. American workers (that aren't in a labor union) would have to travel back in time to the 1950's to get those type benefits. Funny how those record stock prices, record profits and record CEO salaries haven't been tricking down to the average American worker.
We were told by a presidential candidate last year that corporate America doesn't owe us a thing, and that if we aren't rich or have a job, it's our own fault; and to ask for more would be "Socialism". Although others would call it an equitable share of worker productivity --- a fair piece of the economic pie. But American workers have been left with nothing but the crumbs.
The website Popular Resistance reports on recent actions by low-wage workers that include domestic workers, Google security guards, Walmart workers, baseball concession workers and truckers (The Teamsters).
We have part-time or temporary low-paying jobs that don't offer benefits...that's our job growth. Apple hasn't been building factories in Iowa for union workers. And the better jobs in the tech industry are going to foreigner workers on H-1B visas --- and the worst of the worst jobs are going to undocumented workers that are paid below the federal minimum wage and are enduring all kinds of untold abuses.
This has been our job growth for the past four years. (Actually, since 1979, when all the manufacturing jobs began being offshored to Asia.) And over the past 40 months, over 600,000 of the better jobs that actually pays a "living wage" (the government jobs) have been slashed. If the GOP has their way, we'll all be waiting in line at the DMV for 3 days to renew our driver's license! And there's more to be lost before the end of the year with the "sequester" cuts.
So if corporate America refuses pay decent wages, offer full-time work, and/or offer humane healthcare benefits, we should at least tax them.
James Kwak writes:
"Since the beginning of the current round of perceived deficit problems in the late 1970s, tax revenues have shifted away from income taxes (especially the corporate income tax) and toward payroll taxes --- at a time when real wages have been falling. This trend was accentuated by the 1997 (Clinton-Gingrich) and 2003 (Bush) tax cuts, which reduced capital gains taxes first to 20 percent and then to 15 percent. As capital gains have made up a larger and larger share of income, we have been taxing them less and less, with only a partial correction this year. Our one significant wealth tax --- the estate tax --- was slashed by Bush; even after the latest tax compromise, the exemption is set at $5 million and indexed for inflation, as compared to $1 million (un-indexed) only twelve years ago."
But then again, some would call higher (and more fair) taxation on the ultra-wealthy a "redistribution of the wealth." But what has any tax always been, if not a redistribution of wealth?
Some would say it's not Obama's fault that not enough good-paying jobs have been created because of GOP obstructionism; but Harry Reid has also refused to reform the filibuster to break up the log jam in Congress to get a jobs bill passed and to raise the minimum wage (among many other bills, such as tax reform).
So for the past four years average working Americans have been caught in the middle between both the inept and the radical members of Congress. Clowns to the left of me, Jokers to the right, here I am, stuck in the middle with you...as either unemployed, or in a temporary or part-time low-paying job without healthcare and a future.
Meanwhile, the top 1% of the 1% and the major corporations have been making (and hoarding) so much money, they don't even know what do with it!
And more "GOOD" jobs getting slashed...
Sequestration Will Prevent Creation Of Up To 1.6 Million Jobs In Next Year
What Obama DID say...
Obama said he will push initiatives to help manufacturers bring jobs back to America.
Obama said he will continue to fight to raise the minimum wage.
Obama said he will use his own executive authority to push the economy forward,
Obama said he will warn Republicans against creating another budget crisis in the fall.
Obama wants to flood the U.S. with foreign workers
Who will compete directly with U.S. workers and lower wages. He is passing more bad trade agreements to offshore outsource more jobs.
I think most of America has long caught onto Obama's rhetoric game and clearly America gets the GOP insanity so we're screwed for there are no parties and political leaders who will stop the corporate control of this country and push to get America and the middle class back on track.
This site is fact based, economic based and non-partisan. This is good for it means we can slam any politician or any party equally!
there isn't a political party
there isn't a political party in the modern day USA that represents "workers" those who sell their time for a paycheck.
The democrats have long abandoned that role to compete with republicans by both being the party of wall street.
I agree with Chris Hedges who says that nothing short of grass roots revolution will improve the present state of american workers or what's left of them.
Corrupt narcissists serve the $ - corrupt $ rules the world
I don't begrudge those with $ that actually busted their asses for it (which is pretty rare nowadays - not too many self-made wealthy that aren't corrupt or backstabbed and stole it in some form in this generation or prior generations), wouldn't take offense with corrupt people if they were isolated and had no power.
Oh, but when $ unites with corruption and power, we're royally screwed. So we have politicians that only care about their own power and $ and securing both for their friends and relatives in perpetuity. And we have large business interests that will do anything to control/own those same politicians to advance their own interests at the expense of the struggling masses across the globe (we'll be seeing more and more how ugly this gets very soon as unemployment, strife, disenfranchisement, bankster financial Ponzis, etc. spread quicker and quicker). The two together = doom for us; locked out of power, too honest to be corrupt, and still naive enough to believe in democracy and freedom and our Founding Fathers' ideals.
sure is true, no representation
As far as a grassroots revolution goes, we just saw a systemic repression of Occupy Wall Street go on nationwide. Clearly coordinated, shutting millions of people down and it worked.
Daily proof we are held in contempt (e.g., Summers for Fed)
Yup, every single day it's the same crap and same old news proving no one in power really cares or learns any lessons or wants to change for the better of the majority of people. Larry Summers for Fed Chair? Yeah, brilliant, because we need to recycle idiots and criminals. US Govt. pissed that someone revealed US Government spies on its own citizens in violation of US Constitution, US Govt. wants to make $ for defense contractors so can't decide which Egyptian govt. or opposition to support, if only they could just unload those F-16s on someone (both sides could hate the US equally and use the planes against us, but hey, it's $$$$ for donor corporations, so who cares) already, etc.
News has become tragic farce and comedy with the same result no matter what day or year - we're screwed and losing our voice and wealth with every passing day. I could pull a Rip Van Winkle and sleep for 20 years and know with certainty the same thing will be going on when I woke up no matter which party is "in charge." It's all the same.
Before I comment let me say
Before I comment let me say that as an engineer, i really don't offer much in the way of economic analysis but i do appreciate the owner(s) of this insightful blog for letting me vent on the "populist" side of their title. (i'll see if i can scrounge up the 2 cents)
Yes agreed exactly... Hedges also mentions that in his series of interviews with the real news network. I went to Zucotti park a couple of times during occupy as i live in a neighboring state and for a minute I thought there was hope. The first time i went police were present but not menacing. The second time i went a few weeks later police presence was overwhelming, surrounded by cops.
I am now mostly hopeless and see the middle class life that i grew up in basically already gone for many members of my immediate family.
But the pain must get worse for the vast number of workers and if present trends continue, it will. I don't know when or how but I do believe radical change will occur and the government will be changed from the bottom.
Workers are screwed
The plant that I worked at for over 4 years closed it's doors & now I'm out of work. I am going on 56 and can't get Social Security Disability b/c they are making this even harder to get approved (even though I have heart problems & severe arthritis which requires strong pain meds everyday. The only jobs in my area are PT or temp, and hell, there aren't many of those! Obama's Hope & Change have killed the job market. Yes, the destruction of our manufacturing base started 20 years ago but it is clearly getting worse under Obama. And now he wants to legalize another 12- 15 million illegal immigrants? God help our grandchildren. I've been on unemployment for a year with no job prospects. Thanks Mr Hope & Change!
Blame corporations and "job creators", not the President
Blame "job creators", that is, multinational corporations and businesses who are increasingly either offshoring jobs to overseas, or offering to Indian visa workers when instead they should be hiring Americans, setting up factories and worksites on US soil, and paying taxes in this country that are needed to keep up our infrastructure. Obama doesn't have any fairy dust and can't wave any wands that force businesses to hire American workers on American soil-- only the corporations and businesses themselves can do the right thing by Americans, and it seems that they've decided instead that the only thing they care about is profits.
As to legalizing those immigrants-- there are some industries in this country, e.g. agriculture, that are petitioning the government to please, yes, legalize them, because otherwise they can't get their product to market. Farmers in some states are begging for legalization of those children of immigrants, so that they can have the field workers they need to move crops to table. There are a lot of Americans who won't do that work for the pay that farmers are willing to pay-- but the farmers need help to get the food to market. So who will do the work, if Americans won't? You'd rather that we have a massive food shortage? Or are you willing to start working in the fields with the strawberries?
Free market = no workers for given wages, raise the wages
That's what democracy and capitalism mean. Can't find workers at a set wage, you don't flood a country with more workers at the expense of citizens. That's not how "representative democracy" works. That's not how labor supply and demand work. Instead, businesses, etc. raise wages and talent and employees follow. That's how it works in a corruption-free system. Now, in a broken system, "capitalists" buy out the government, demand cheap labor and laws favoring them at the expense of the majority of citizens, and then complain that American citizens are lazy or incompetent. And if the new workers complain too much when they are on their visas, they are simply sent back to their home countries for cheaper labor willing to work for cheaper wages and the US corporate-controlled govt. approves it. Just watch Bill Gates perjure himself and claim he simply can't find good Americans in front of Congress. Watch YouTube for the videos of law firms instructing people how not to find qualified Americans.
See, these phony "capitalists" like big government that caters to their whims. They want a govt. that controls who comes and goes, because the more people here, the lower the wages. Hey, big business wants more people in debt, more unemployed, more college kids that will work for them for free as "interns" alongside "interns" that are 50 with PhDs? Sure, why not, they want it, they own the govt., so they get it. And the DOJ and Labor Dept. and every Fed. and State agency will turn a blind eye or actively assist them with their lies and crimes. "Capitalism"? "Democracy"? "A Republic"? Not quite. But hey, if you're an American with military service and a BS and 20+ years of experience but won't work for minimum wage because you can't feed 2 kids on that, why, you must be lazy or unqualified or a troublemaker/sarc. Great, I'm so glad I know nothing of economics or history or politics or international relations or labor, business, etc., etc. Otherwise, that would be very offensive.
But look, big business is going to get lower tax rates from Obama! And do you know how many Americans will get living wage jobs as a result of these breaks because this has resulted in jack in the past as corporations simply repatriated gobs of money and made the boardroom boys and girls even richer. Let's count those middle class jobs. . . let's see. . .any minute now the middle class will return, yup, any second now.
I assume the Pres is a man who can take responsibility...
I assume the Pres is a man who can take responsibility for what he says, given that many millions of people have to live with the result.
He stood in front of the bankers who had donated a lot of money to Democrats to get elected, and stated "I'm the only one standing between you and the pitchforks".
"http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2009/04/obama-to-banker/", and selected a Republican friend of the Criminal Conspiracy formerly known as Bankers to shovel money to them.
Here we are 5 years later, more people shuffled into part-time jobs, a number never seen in the history of this country by employers who, if there was demand, would be daft not to hire, because their competitors will. Full-time jobs have now fallen below part-time longer and in greater numbers than ever in history. The Criminal Conspiracy formerly known as Banks reported a $20 billion profit in the second quarter, while Ben and friends continue to send them $85 billion/month, and we are reporting 47 million people on food stamps, an increase over the past few months, as well as 50 million people in poverty, with a higher percentage of them working as much as they are allowed than ever before - contrary to your assertion that people won't work for those wages. The farmers? No one freakin' lives around there - the laborers that USED to do the work are not allowed to because of the Republican virus that is afraid of the color brown lived in cars and box trucks without motors, and the family was, well, mostly not there. Are you advocating breaking up families so people can sleep in a bag on the ground for a few weeks work, charged so much for their sleeping quarters in a box with no toilet or ac in 105 degree heat (or do you want them to let the baby lay in there all day?) that they cannot even send enough money back to pay the rent and eat?
The farmers are slowly but surely turning to mechanized lettuce and strawberry pickers, and a large amount of that food you are so concerned about isn't grown here any longer. It's shipped in because it is cheaper, and unregulated. Check google on the increase in people dying and being hurt by contaminated food, and look at the increased profits of the distributors and growers...they track upwards with each other.
Obama, big community organizer, could have stood with the people against the Criminals, put those trillions that the friends of Bernanke were paid into infrastructure, paying tuition, modernizing the workforce so it can compete against H1B labor, but he made a conscious decision to side with the wealthy donors to the Democratic Party, who don't give a hoot in hell about families or workers, no more than the Repubs. BOTH care only about profits. There are a few people who care, but they are a minority, and haven't figured out yet that they are being played by the swindlers elected from either side. Had Mr. former Community Organizer used those skills, which this country so desperately needed, 200 million people would have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with him and we would be living in a far better place. But he didn't, he stood with a few thousand wealthy individuals who, frankly, don't give a damn if an of us live or die, as long as they make money.
Remember Rockefeller? "The time to make money is when blood is running in the streets"
And we are living with his descendants, who have done nothing but create more people who think like that.
Blame? That's schoolkid talk. Adults speak of responsibility, and taking it for your actions. So either one can expect Obama to stand up like a man and realize that much of the misery Americans are suffering through today is because he chose the side of thieves and professional liars, or make excuses for him and others, pointing fingers and name-calling like the bought and paid for servants of the corporations spend their time doing, and, frankly, that says a lot more about the sheep-like attitude of the ignorant True Believer than it does about the selected officials.
We are in this spot because he didn't, and doesn't, have the backbone to make a difference, and has turned his back on the people that could.
There goes the mailman...
No more Saturday mail delivery. No more door-to-door mail service for millions of Americans. The Postal Reform Act of 2013, introduced by Rep. Darrell Issa and passed out of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee recently, would implement these drastic changes to the postal service, while slashing over 100,000 mail carrier jobs.