The WasteWatcher: The Staff Blog of Citizens Against Government Waste

It's All in the Numbers

The WasteWatcher is the staff blog of Citizens Against Government Waste (CAGW) and the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW). For questions, contact blog@cagw.org.


Last week, we got the jobs numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).  They reported a job gain of 162,000 for the month of July.  There wasn’t a lot of hoopla about it because the numbers were pretty pathetic.  Many analysts had expected somewhere between 175,000 to 200,000 jobs.  Plus, the BLS dropped the numbers for nonfarm payroll employment for May and June.  For May, the number was revised downward from +195,000 to +176,000 and for June, the number was revised downward from +195,000 to +188,000.  Here is the reaction from various news sources to the numbers:

Very disappointing jobs report,” Steve Moore, Editorial Board Wall Street Journal, August 2

The good news, if it can be called that, was that the unemployment rate tumbled to 7.4 percent from 7.6 percent in June. But a significant part of that drop was people leaving the labor force, and when that is factored out, the report was only so-so,” Neil Irwin, Washington Post, August 2

The painfully long and slow recovery of the American economy stumbled last month as employers added a disappointing 162,000 jobs…,”Catherine Rampell, New York Times, August 2

 I went to the BLS report for July and decided to pick out various figures to show just how bad things are.

  • Unemployment edged down to 7.4% and most jobs gains were in retail trade, food services, and drinking places, financial activities, and wholesale trade.
    • Comment – Most of the growth was in retail and food services and they tend to be low-wage, part time jobs.  Also, one of the reasons the unemployment dropped to 7.4% is because the number of discouraged workers increased by 136,000.  They have stopped looking for work and when that occurs they are no longer counted as unemployed.
  • The number of long-term unemployed (jobless for 27 weeks or more) changed little at 4.2 million.
    • Comment – Job growth is stagnant.  It is time to stop blaming President Bush and his policies for the stagnant growth.  In fact, in the past, the deeper a recession, the more robust the growth is that follows. 
  • Average hourly earnings for all employees on private, nonfarm payrolls edged down by 2 cents to $23.98.
    • Comment – This drop is a result of the growth in low-wage and part-time jobs
  • Unemployment for adult men (20yr+) is 7.0%; adult women (20+ yrs) is 6.5%; Teenagers (16-19) 23.7%
    • Comment – Digging deeper into the numbers, for whites, the rate is 6.6%; for blacks 12.6%; Asian 5.7%; for Hispanics/Latino 9.4%.  For black teens, the unemployment rate is 41.6%; for Hispanic/Latino teens, the unemployment rate is 30.9%.  We should be disturbed at the high unemployment rate in teenagers.  These are the years they learn basic job skills such as showing up on time, taking direction from a superior, dressing appropriately, being responsible, working with others, and acting professional.  All these skills help them through college and beginning their career.
  • The average weekly hours have hovered around 34.5 for a year
    • Comment – Most of the jobs created in July were part-time jobs, thus lowering the average work week.
  • U-6, alternative measure of labor underutilization – 14.0%
  • Government jobs grew by 1,000 in July.
    • So much for the sequester hurting government jobs.

Government spending has done nothing to help our economy.  If fact, just the opposite has occurred and with Obamacare creating a part-time nation, matters will only get worse.

Here is some good information from Charles Kadlac from the Forbes' February 2013 magazine:

Since the Obama recovery began, monthly job growth has averaged only 98,000.  By contrast, during the Reagan recovery, job growth (adjusted for today’s economy) averaged 354,000 a month.  Comparing the two, the Obama Administration’s policies have produced an 11 million jobs gap.

It is time to reverse course and do something that works and that is to follow the Reagan model.  Remove the anvil around the neck of businesses by reducing government spending, decrease regulations, and lower their taxes – then get out of their way.

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