Revisiting the Employment/Economy Issue

Bush Allies, Falling Down on Jobs

It’s also true that the job­less rate “is under­stat­ing the labor mar­ket dis­tress,” says Jared Bern­stein of the Eco­nom­ic Pol­i­cy Insti­tute, a lib­er­al think tank. If you lose your job, it’s tougher to find a new one than the unem­ploy­ment rate implies. About 40 per­cent of the job­less have been with­out work for 15 weeks or more. That’s as bad as the ear­ly 1980s and exceeds the peak of the ear­ly 1990s (36 per­cent in 1992). Because jobs are scarce, Bern­stein says peo­ple stop look­ing — and are no longer includ­ed in the unem­ployed. Count­ing those work­ers could push the unem­ploy­ment rate above 7 per­cent. Some of the decline in labor force par­tic­i­pa­tion may sim­ply be ear­ly retire­ment, notes Marc Sumer­lin, a for­mer White House econ­o­mist now with the Lind­sey Group. Still, Bern­stein’s adjust­ment goes in the right direction.

All this is a bad brew for Bush. Some of the steep­est increas­es in job­less­ness have occurred in “bat­tle­ground states.” The unem­ploy­ment rate is 6.7 per­cent in Illi­nois (up from a recent low of 4.1 per­cent), 7.6 per­cent in Michi­gan (up from 3.1 per­cent) and 6.2 per­cent in Ohio (up from 3.6 per­cent). The Democ­rats, the press and the off­shoring furor are all fan­ning job inse­cu­ri­ty. But the cru­elest blow may be that many of Bush’s sup­posed allies in large and small busi­ness­es are qui­et­ly help­ing the oth­er guy. 

Net loss shows jobs pic­ture in metro Atlanta not as good as believed

Instead of gain­ing jobs last year, metro Atlanta actu­al­ly lost 16,800, accord­ing to the Geor­gia Depart­ment of Labor.

Ear­li­er fig­ures indi­cat­ed that there had been an increase of 67,900 jobs in the Atlanta area in 2003, which appeared to make the area a nation­al leader in job creation.

“The num­bers can get a lit­tle weird when the econ­o­my is in flux,” said John Lawrence, assis­tant direc­tor of work force infor­ma­tion and analy­sis for the Labor Department.

One rea­son for the dras­tic change is that many com­pa­nies that had gone out of busi­ness were not count­ed in the ini­tial sur­vey, Lawrence said Wednesday.

The most recent update shows Geor­gia start­ing 2003 with 3,903,300 jobs and end­ing the year with 3,899,800. Metro Atlanta came into last year with 2,196,100 jobs and 12 months lat­er had 2,179,300.
Nation­al­ly, the unem­ploy­ment rate has drift­ed down to 5.6 per­cent. Reces­sions two decades ago pro­duced job­less rates near­ly twice as high. But mil­lions of Amer­i­cans have slipped out of the labor force — and are no longer count­ed as unemployed.

The nation has lost about 2.4 mil­lion jobs since the reces­sion began in ear­ly 2001. More than 150,000 new jobs per month are need­ed to soak up the pool of the unemployed.

Job growth start­ed again last sum­mer, but has aver­aged just 61,000 jobs per month. In Feb­ru­ary, the growth was only 21,000 jobs.

Cur­rent Mood: 😡cranky
Cyn is Rick's wife, Katie's Mom, and Esther & Oliver's Mémé. She's also a professional geek, avid reader, fledgling coder, enthusiastic gamer (TTRPGs), occasional singer, and devoted stitcher.
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