Let’s do a reality check on the jobs report.
And by everyone, I mean liberal economists, Democrat cheerleaders, and investors who have a vested interest in making everyone think the economy is booming like crazy so that their investments bloat a little from the artificial optimism. Naturally, their voices are going to be the loudest.
If you’re like most Americans, and you’re not one of the cheerleaders mentioned above, then the jobs report is nothing to write home about. While the headlines exclaimed “321,000 New Jobs Created in November!” the reality is that the unemployment rate remained steady around 5.8% (while the labor force did expand a little), the labor participation rate remained at the 36-year low of around 62.8%, and many of the jobs created weren’t “high quality” jobs.
Of course, I use the phrase “job creation” loosely. I don’t like that phrase at all, especially when it’s being used by a government official. They want Americans to have this image of the government wielding a magic wand, and with the right magic words, *poof* they can “create” jobs, just like that. It’s not the government that creates jobs for us. Businesses and employers “create” jobs out of an economic demand for labor, most of the time in spite of the government.
However, the household survey, which is an actual head count, presents details that show there’s still plenty of work to do.
A few figures to consider: That big headline number translated into just 4,000 more working Americans. There were, at the same time, another 115,000 on the unemployment line. That disparity can be explained through an expanding labor force, which grew 119,000, though the participation rate among that group remained at 62.8 percent, which is just off the year’s worst level and around a 36-year low.
But wait, there’s more: The jobs that were created skewed heavily toward lower quality. Full-time jobs declined by 150,000, while part-time positions increased by 77,000.
Analysts, though, mostly gushed over the report.
I would venture to guess that many of those “lower quality” part-time jobs created weren’t really wanted in the first place. To give you an example, my wife recently took up a part-time job. Last month actually, so she’s one of those 77,000. She’s never had to work outside the home in all the 12 years we’ve been married, except for a few months when we first got married, before we had any kids. Times have been tough, I’ve got a couple jobs myself, and even though neither of us wanted her to have to get a job, we thought it was the most prudent solution to our circumstances, at least temporarily.
There are probably others who have been looking for full-time, “high quality” jobs and have had no choice but to settle for one or two part-time jobs.
Somehow, these situations get turned into great economic news. But the reality is, it’s not great news when people have to rely on two or three small incomes rather than the one good income that they used to have.