Strikes plumb the depths

Although there have been plenty of reports of rising labor militancy in the US—teachers’ strikes, tech and delivery app organizing—it’s sadly not showing up in the strike data. In its annual release, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that there were just 7 major “work stoppages” (which include lockouts as well as strikes) in 2020, tied with 2017 for the second-lowest number since 1947, and beaten only by 2009’s 5. What strike action there was, says the BLS, was mainly against state and local government employers (5 of them), not private… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): February 18, 2021 Forrest Hylton on Bolsonaro’s Brazil: disease, chaos, and creeping military dictatorship • Luis Feliz Leon on organizing Amazon workers in Alabama (Gainesville article here; Bessemer, here)

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): January 7, 2021 Vijoo Krishnan on the Indian farmer strikes • Yannet Lathrop, author of this report, on state and local minimum wage increases • Alex Peterson on the Alphabet Workers Union

In memory of Leo Panitch

[Here’s what I had to say on this week’s radio show about the marvelous Leo Panitch, who died on December 19. The show consists of two interviews, one from 2012 with Leo and Sam Gindin talking about their book, The Making of Global Capitalism, and the other from 2018, Leo solo talking about Trump specifically and the US empire generally.] I was planning to do a rerun for this week’s show, to give myself a little holiday break, but I wasn’t planning this one: a memorial to Leo Panitch, the Canadian political… Read More

fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): December 24, 2020 a memorial to a great thinker, comrade, friend: Leo Panitch (1945–2020): two interviews, one with him and Sam Gindin from 2012, and on with him alone in 2018

Employment report

As the job market loses steam, and Congress dithers over a new bailout package, Americans are having a harder time paying their bills. First the job market. Employers added 245,000 jobs in November, the least since the recovery from the March–April crash. As the graph below shows, that recovery has been losing momentum since June, when employment rose by 4.8 million. What looks to be happening is that the easy recalls after the initial shutdown have happened, and with the giant stimulus of the CARES Act receding, there’s not much fuel for… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): November 19, 2020 Jennifer Berkshire, co-author of A Wolf at the Schoolhouse Door, on ed reform, mostly from the right • Kate Sykes of People First Portland on some major left ballot victories in Maine’s largest city

Blank email?

For some reason, the email WordPress sent out about my latest radio show posting was blank. Let’s see if this one is too. You can see the post at https://lbo-news.com/2020/08/13/fresh-audio-product-230/.

Miserable numbers

Even non-connoisseurs are reeling from the miserable second quarter GDP numbers released this morning. Between the first and second quarters of this year, GDP was off 33% after adjustment for inflation. That’s by far the biggest decline since quarterly numbers begin in 1947. That 33% figure is at an annualized rate, meaning GDP would be off by a third if it declined at the second-quarter rate for a full year. The US is unusual in annualizing the data; most other countries report the quarter-to-quarter change without annualizing it. If we did that,… Read More

Reflections on the current disorder

[This is the edited text of a talk I gave via Zoom, like everything else these days, sponsored by the North Brooklyn chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America. It reprises and updates several things I’ve written recently, but it’s hard to be original these days. Video will be posted, but who wants to look at me? The Q&A was quite good though.] Before I get into the body of my talk, I want to celebrate our electoral victories and say how proud I am to be a member of DSA. If… Read More

SNAP election

[This serves as an addendum to my article on expanded unemployment benefits Jacobin just posted.] In April, the most recent month available, almost 6 million people were added to the food stamp rolls, reversing the long decline after the 2008–2009 recession. In percentage terms, that’s the biggest monthly increase since 1970, when the program was young and participation was just taking off. This surge is a thing unto itself. The number of participants in the food stamp program—which was renamed the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in 2008, though the old name has… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 25, 2020 Nikhil Pal Singh on race, class, policing, protest • Michael Kinnucan of Brooklyn DSA’s electoral committee on left victories in the NYC primary elections

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 18, 2020 Eric Reinhart on jails as COVID-19 spreaders (article here, AER article on pretrial detention here) • Erin Hatton on “coerced” workers, from prisoners to grad students [back after vacation break]

NYC has way too many cops

As do many other cities, but since I’m a New Yorker, I’m leading with the hometown news. US cities vary widely in the number of cops they have relative to their population, as the graph below (drawn from data assembled by Governing magazine). Among big cities, DC, Chicago, New York, Baltimore, and Philadelphia top the list, with over 40 officers per 10,000 people. These are well above the national average of just under 28 per 10,000. Cities toward the bottom of the list have 20 or fewer. If New York had an average… Read More

Measuring the carnage

When Trump promised to end “American carnage” in his inaugural address, he had no idea he’d end up presiding over mass death and economic collapse, but history can be a brutal ironist. Here’s a look at the bloodletting in the job market, which is central to most people’s economic well-being. Most of the time, the monthly employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is of interest mostly to econogeeks, but the April 2020 edition, released on Friday, May 8, was like no other since the end of World War II. The… Read More