With it being the first Friday of the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its newest unemployment figures.
Once again, it’s not good news by any estimation despite expected celebration among the President’s supporters that the rate went down a few tenths of a point. The official unemployment rate for April was a misleading 6.3 percent. Participation is low with people leaving the workforce in large numbers. Things are pretty much as bad as they were last month and the month before that and so on.
President Obama uses the term as a perjorative against his critics when he calls opponents of his environmental regulations “flat-earthers.”
But “flat,” in the Obama universe, is — unfortunately — a term that can be better used to describe the way the President is handling the economy.
These terms were included in reports about the unsettling news that the federal Bureau of Economic Advisors announced that the gross domestic product, widely considered to be the leading indicator of economic growth, grew by only 0.1 percent during the first quarter of 2014.
It’s an abysmal showing for the economy, especially since the American people are consistently being assured by Obama and his supporters that we are in a period of recovery.
The Federal Reserve, in part, tried to blame the weather. Think about that for a minute. On one hand, people are causing global warming and need to have more regulation of their behavior. On the other, the Fed is now claiming global cooling may have brought the gears of the nation’s economic engine to a slow grind. Do they really believe they can have it both ways?
Obviously, they do. And, while they seem to live in a fantasy world, the rest of America is left to suffer.
That’s where flat comes in again.
Flat also describes the national employment situation. The official jobless rate for April, as determined by the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, was an unacceptable 6.3 percent for April.
It looks like a significant drop of four-tenths of a point, but the labor force dropped in size in April by 806,000 workers. A lethargic percentage of people are active in the workforce, and 2.2 million are considered “marginal” and 783,000 are considered “discouraged.”
All in all, it’s ultimately yet another month where there has been little change. It was a push. Flat. Depressing.
What’s worse, the U-6 alternative rate that includes the same jobless numbers as the official rate does plus those people who are underemployed and those able-bodied individuals who are so despondent that they’ve stopped looking for a job (to end up with what some people consider to be the true unemployment rate) was still extremely high at an astronomical 12.3 percent.
Only 288,000 jobs were created in April. The labor force participation rate was 62.8 percent. That’s at Carter era levels.
It’s a travesty.
To make matters even more dire, things are also still flat for many of the key constituencies in the Obama coalition. For example, the black unemployment rate for April was 11.6 percent. Black teen unemployment, in particular was much worse. It was a through-the-roof 36.8 percent — rising by seven-tenths of a point. Hispanic overall unemployment was 7.3 percent.
A conservative war on women? There were almost 4.5 million jobless women in April. How are the sloganeering policies of the Obama Administration such as “equal pay” and “minimum wage” — and even employer-supplied contraception — going to help women when they lose their job under this economy or cannot find one in the first place?
But it’s not just women having payroll problems. Reports suggest there is diminishing American wage for all Americans.
For instance, a new report by the National Employment Law Project found that low-income jobs are the one sector of the labor market that gained a bit during the alleged period of recovery while mid-level and high-paying jobs disappeared in the Obama era. NELP’s report notes, “the types of jobs available to unemployed workers, new labor market entrants and individuals looking to move up the career ladder are distinctly different than they were prior to the recession.”
Additionally, the U.S. Census Bureau reports that workers 40 years ago were making more than people are today. In inflation-adjusted dollars, the median salary for men in 1973 was $51,670. In 2012, the median was down to $49,398 — a 4.4 percent decrease.
In New York City, officials there are claiming that more people are working but earning a lot less. The New York Times reported that, in 2011, 46 percent of New York City residents were at or under 150 percent of poverty level. It was reported: “While more people were working, wages were lagging because most jobs were generated in lower-wage hospitality and retail fields.” It was also suggested this trend and the despondency it caused was what got Mayor Bill de Blasio — a politician who is even further to the left of President Obama — elected last year.
There are jobs out there, but it seems Obama isn’t interested in them. Case in point: the Obama Administration once again delayed the approval and construction of the full Keystone XL pipeline that would bring crude oil from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico and create thousands of jobs in construction and related industries and supportive businesses. The Obama Administration, which has vetted the pipeline proposal for years and has thus far concluded there are no environmental hazards of merit, nonetheless delayed a final decision in a Good Friday announcement with announcing that still more consideration was being asked of eight more federal agencies.
The delay of the Keystone XL pipeline decision angers even Obama’s steadfast supporters at this point. Terry O’Sullivan, the general president of the Laborers’ International Union of North America — a union that supported both of Obama’s presidential campaigns — wrote in the Washington Post: “No one seriously believes that the administration’s nearly dark-of-night announcement [of the latest delay]… was anything by politically motivated.”
Similarly, shale production in Ohio is creating new jobs that are “growing [at a rate] faster than the job market as a whole.” But, as a fossil fuel, it’s not really a job market that President Obama seems excited to champion. Remember, the people who push for increased fossil fuel production and against Obama’s regulatory regime and risky alternative energy scheme are considered to be flat-earthers.
There are jobs out there. From new reports, however, the quality of many of those jobs are unsatisfactory for the majority of Americans. Those that are considered desirable do not appear to exist within the realm of Obama’s favor. It’s an uncomfortable situation that is leaving the American job market and the American economy… flat.