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

Rasmus on the attack again

The irrepressible Jack Rasmus, who has never demonstrated any real understanding of how economic statistics are constructed, has a new post claiming that the “real” unemployment rate is more like 10–12% than the officially reported 3.7%. He has a point, even if it’s somewhat overstated. The government’s own broad unemployment rate, U-6, was 7.2% in August, nearly twice the headline rate, though short of the Rasmus rate. (See table A-15 here.) One of the ways the government undercounts the unemployed, says Rasmus, is that the monthly survey “misses a lot of workers… Read More

Fresh audio product

Just added to my radio archive (click on date for link): June 27, 2019 Natalie Shure, author of this article, on what the skyrocketing price of insulin is doing to diabetics • Aaron Medlin, co-author of this paper, on young adults in the job market • Ken Silverstein, proprietor of Washington Babylon, on the reeking worlds of DC journalism and think-tankery

Responding to Rasmus’s response

Jack Rasmus is out with a response to my critique of his analysis of the April U.S. employment numbers. Enlightening Rasmus looks to be a hopeless case, but since there are may be some onlookers who wonder what’s up, here are a few comments. As with yesterday’s post, his comments are quoted and italicized (though the formatting doesn’t show up on an iPhone unless you choose the desktop version—sorry!). What is significant is that Henwood thinks the CES (Current Employment Survey) is more important and accurate than the CPS (Current Population Survey)…. Read More

Misreading the latest jobs numbers

Z Communications’ resident statistician Jack Rasmus is out with some fresh disinformation about the economic news. It’s been a while since I took his nonsense apart, so this seems like a good opportunity, since his latest looks to be making the rounds. The problems start in the first paragraph (Rasmus is in quoted italics, my comments in Roman.) The just released report on April jobs on first appearance, heavily reported by the media, shows a record low 3.6% unemployment rate and another month of 263,000 new jobs created. But there are two… Read More

Contingency: almost every demographic is down

Someone on Twitter, reacting to my last post on contingent employment, wrote this: “Contingent workers were more than twice as likely as noncontingent workers to be under age 25.” Profitable corporations are putting lots of young people in incredibly exploitative jobs and making it normal. For the young work is a new hell, and it’s not temporary. Workers under the age of 25 are less likely to be contingent than they were 22 years ago. Here’s the detail by demographic group. The share for workers in the 20–25 age group declined more than the… Read More

Varieties of unemployment

This is the first in a series of lbo-news posts about the state of the U.S. job market. On March 10, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released the employment report for February showing a robust job market, Donald Trump finally liked the numbers. His press agent, Sean Spicer, quoted him as saying “They may have been phony in the past, but it’s very real now.” Trump himself retweeted Matt Drudge’s gloss on the news that employers added 235,000 jobs in the month as proof that America was already “GREAT AGAIN.” That was… Read More

Fresh audio content

Freshly, though belatedly (sorry!), added to my radio archives: April 24, 2014 Heidi Shierholz on the plight of young adults in the job market • Kshama Sawant, socialist member of the Seattle city council, talks about a $15 minimum wage and how to make revolutionary politics practical April 17, 2014 Trudy Lieberman on how much you’ll have to pay for health care even if you’re insured • Priamvada Gopal on the fascist threat in India April 10, 2014 Keith Gessen on Ukraine and Russia (article here) • Martin Gilens on how the rich rule and the people have no say (paper here) April 3,… Read More