U.S. Jobs Picture Catastrophic

David Leonhardt noticed the right thing. Maybe there is hope that the mass-market media will wake up one day and realize that its not doing its job is kind of a bad thing for its own profits and society at-large. (Actually, Leonhardt is one of the best out there when it comes to economic commentary. That explains why he writes for The New York Times while people like me are exiled to the outer bands of a far-off galaxy in cyberspace.)

In their reportage of the November 2008 jobs report, most media have hammered home the "official" unemployment rate 6.7 percent -- which really doesn't sound too bad. CNN even went so far as to emphasize the "Jobless claims down!" angle, which almost sounds like good news. What they should be pointing out is what DL did: Not only were 251,000 jobs lost, 637,000 people got so discouraged that they stopped looking for work. Almost triple the number of people who lost their jobs actually stopped looking for jobs, politely removing themselves from being counted among the officially unemployed.

Even more than that, the number of people like Yours Truly who are working part-time but would like to work full-time rose by a staggering 621,000. This was all in one month!!!

Suddenly we can see why "Jobless claims down": You can't claim unemployment if you're working part-time or if you're not looking for work.

Leonhardt -- a real journalist, apparently, concerned with telling the truth, no matter how ugly -- points out that:

The share of all men ages 16 and over who are working is now at its lowest level since the government began keeping statistics in the 1940s.

Lowest level since the government began keeping statistics in the 1940s, you know, when the country was emerging from its last depression? Wow.

Yup, it's bad out there. Good luck to everybody. We can come through this for the better if we attack it together.

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chuck's picture

Catastrophe

There is no other word for it. 500,000+ job losses occurred in December. The way the stats are padded, you can probably double that safely. That's in one month.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

Who Knows How Many Unemployed

Let's face it, there is no way in hell to know just how many people are unemployed across this nation. Has any governmental official statistic gatherer ever called your household and asked you if you were unemployed?- Of course not! Until they do, it is not very accurate now is it? Isn't it strange that every illegal immigrant has a job? Isn't it just as strange that every legal immigrant with a green card has a job? Immigration, legal and/or illegal is hurting America. So is the off-shoring of American jobs and entire industries to other countries. While America's middle class slips into poverty, China and India are building the worlds largest middle class of people with American dollars. Corporate America has let us down and is to blame just because they are too greedy to pay their fair share of taxes and pay decent wages. What they want is to pay cheap labor and have the working man pay all the taxes. But then again, in America, we never found a way to outlaw greed or even discourage it!

"Immigration, legal and/or

"Immigration, legal and/or illegal is hurting America."

You're talking as if there is a limited amount of work to be done. There is not. Yes, there is a limited amount of jobs but only because someone figured that it was too costly and not worth their time to take on a certain endeavor.

"So is the off-shoring of American jobs and entire industries to other countries. While America's middle class slips into poverty, China and India are building the worlds largest middle class of people with American dollars."
Why do you think China and India are able to build a large middle class? Because they are cheaper to hire. Why is that? Because our own government has made us costly workers: Our wages don't only consist of the money that goes to us. It consists of taxes from Federal to state, to medicare, medicaid and SS(which by the way, the employer has to match what you pay every paycheck). You don't think this harms how many jobs are created? What about minimum wage? If minimum wage was such a great thing, why not bring it up to 20 bucks an hour? Are there some jobs just not worth 8 dollars an hour? There has to be. No?

"Corporate America has let us down and is to blame just because they are too greedy to pay their fair share of taxes and pay decent wages."

First off, why are you relying on Corporate America for your jobs? Small businesses make up most of the jobs in this country and when few small businesses are starting up at the same time that big business has found more competitive workers in other countries, don't you think that's maybe a sign that we're too costly of an employee? (Again, DON'T think of what YOU get in your paycheck. Think of how much it REALLY costs for you to work one hour.)
If you think businesses are too greedy in wanting to make a profit, then start your own f***ing business. You can pay your 2 employees at your small burger joint 15 bucks an hour, AND if you ACTUALLY happen to somehow be able to pay your bills, you can give the rest of your profits to the IRS just to be nice, 'cause we all know those profits are evil things. Might as well hand that hot potato to someone more responsible. Right?

Instead of painting that picture in your head of CEOs and business owners with horns on their heads, imagine that they're trying to make money just as you are and that maybe they're not so much different from you.

Oh, and Mr. Authoritarian.. about outlawing greed. Do you really want to make an emotion or desire illegal? What are you going to do? Have American troops chasing down business owners who once lived here but are now starting businesses across seas. HAHA, You'll have to get into a war with the world for that. As for discouraging greed, I think having about half of your income taken from you for taxes counts as discouraging towards wanting to make anymore money. Just THINK for f***ing five minutes before you start inciting your whole useless class warfare. There are REAL economic incentives at work here which affect people's decisions and this is EXACTLY the kind of bullsh*t that politicians play on which causes MORE unemployment!

chuck's picture

Correct in some respects

The tax system in this country is nothing short of abominable. Such a PITA, such a drain of resources. There's got to be a more efficient way to collect revenue.

And there is an unlimited amount of work to be done. The missing ingredient is the money, which is all tied up in derivatives contracts instead of being productively invested.

But workers from poorer countries are cheaper because the cost of living is far lower in poor countries, not because of taxes here. You can live like a king on $800 a month in the Philippines. That has nothing to do with low taxes and everything to do with currency valuation. The strong U.S. dollar allows us to buy cheap but forces us to sell high.

Class is entirely natural as long as classes exist. In fact, it's inevitable.

They only call it class warfare when the lower classes fight back.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

greed

Not only do we not outlaw greed, we admire and reward it.

I don't think the immigrants have done anywhere near the harm that the banksters have. Let's march on Wall Street. Who's in?

Je'

Danny, Legal and illegal

Danny,

Legal and illegal immigrants are also getting laid off. A very large number of them worked in construction, which is in the tank. The illegal ones don't get any unemployment benefits because they're probably under the table and/or contractors.

If immigrants leave, that can shrink the economy leading to fewer jobs.

History shows that solidarity is what protects workers. Fairness for all is the better and more effective goal.

chuck's picture

I like you

I think you are totally cool. You seem kind and wise.

I hope you'll come back.

History shows that solidarity is what protects workers. Fairness for all is the better and more effective goal.

"Divide and conquer," right? We workers need to stand together or we will fall. I don't care what race you are. I don't care what political party you're in. I don't care what job you do or where you went to school or what house of worship you claim to frequent. If you work for a living (or want to) you and I are the same, and we need to take ours because they're damn sure not gonna give it to us.

When life hands you sh*t, make fertilizer.

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