Archive for Economy

But Do They Regret the Error?

So, when Bloomberg quoted Jeff Greene as saying “”America’s lifestyle expectations are far too high and need to be adjusted so we have less things and a smaller, better existence”—which was a bit rich from a near-billionaire—he didn’t?

Then, what did he say?

“Let me clear this up. I never said this. It was completely misquoted,” he insists.

“What I said was, ‘the global equalization of wages and technology, which is growing at an exponential pace, has killed so many millions of jobs in America and other Western economies, and it’s going to kill them at an even faster pace going forward,'” he tells CNBC.

“I said, ‘we have our work cut out if we want to build a real economy, an inclusive economy that I grew up in, that I want to see for all Americans.'” Americans don’t have to shift their expectations downward, he maintains.

That’s hardly the same thing.

But then he said this, so he can go [bleep] himself:

The entrepreneur also said he would support higher taxes on the wealthy.

“We absolutely-unfortunately for wealthy people-need to have higher taxes, and I’m certainly prepared to pay higher taxes and I hope that other wealthy people are,” he said.

Those taxes would help provide lifelong educational opportunities, which would help build a stronger middle class, he added.

Anyone who flatly argues for higher taxes—without a thought toward spending reforms, smaller government, inefficiency, corruption, and the nationalization of the individual property—is excused from the conversation. Money doesn’t belong to the government; it belongs to the people. You don’t take it away from them without a damn good reason, and boilerplate palaver about “education” and “infrastructure” is just a diversion for lifting wallets. We don’t need to spend more on education, just smarter. And Obama lost me on infrastructure when he admitted his near-trillion dollar stimulus was pi**ed away because there were no shovel-ready jobs.

How many times are we expected to fall for this nonsense? Please, tell me. It would make my life so much easier.

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California Found An Interesting New Way To Torment Poor People

Why not double the cost of eggs?

as grocery shoppers across the country are discovering. The state’s latest animal-rights march is levying a punishing new food tax on the nation’s poor.

Egg prices are soaring in California, where the USDA says the average price for a dozen jumbo eggs is $3.16, up from $1.18 a dozen a year ago, and in some parts of the state it’s more than $5. The Iowa State University Egg Industry Center says retail egg prices in California are 66% higher than in other parts of the West. National wholesale egg prices also climbed nearly 35% over the 2014 holiday period, before retreating.

The cause of these price gyrations is an initiative passed by California voters in 2008 that required the state’s poultry farmers to house their hens in significantly larger cages. The state legislature realized this would put home-state farmers at a disadvantage, so in 2010 it compounded the problem by requiring that eggs imported from other states come from farms meeting the same cage standards, effective Jan. 1, 2015.

The new standards require cages almost twice the size of the industry norm, with estimated costs to comply of up to $40 a hen. That’s about $2 million for a farm with 50,000 chickens. Some farmers are passing the costs on to consumers, while others are culling their flocks by half for each cage.

Some places in California are selling eggs for $5 a dozen. Now, let’s be honest. Does Aggie mind? Not really. But why is it that the Left enjoys tormenting the poor, but the poor continue to vote for the Left? Is it a sadomasochism thing? What do you think?

– Aggie

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Huh. ObamaCare Costs “Crippling” The Middle Class

Wasn’t this supposed to save every family $2500 per year?

Physician Praveen Arla is witnessing a reversal of health care fortunes: Poor, long-uninsured patients are getting Medicaid through Obamacare and finally coming to his office for care. But middle-class workers are increasingly staying away.

“It’s flip-flopped,” says Arla, who helps his father run a family practice in Hillview, Ky. Patients with job-based plans, he says, will say: ” ‘My deductible is so high. I’m trying to come to the doctor as little as possible. … What is the minimum I can get done?’ They’re really worried about cost.”

It’s a deep and common concern across the USA, where employer plans cover 60% of working-age Americans, or about 150 million people. Coverage long considered the gold standard of health insurance now often requires workers to pay so much out-of-pocket that many feel they must skip doctor visits, put off medical procedures, avoid filling prescriptions and ration pills — much as the uninsured have done.

So, ObamaCare has made it so that normal people with normal jobs can’t afford to see their doctor, eh? Hey, middle class, who’dja’ vote for?

A recent Commonwealth Fund survey found that four in 10 working-age adults skipped some kind of care because of the cost, and other surveys have found much the same. The portion of workers with annual deductibles — what consumers must pay before insurance kicks in — rose from 55% eight years ago to 80% today, according to research by the Kaiser Family Foundation. And a Mercer study showed that 2014 saw the largest one-year increase in enrollment in “high-deductible plans” — from 18% to 23% of all covered employees.

“People put off care or they split their pills. They do without.”

Meanwhile the size of the average deductible more than doubled in eight years, from $584 to $1,217 for individual coverage. Add to this co-pays, co-insurance and the price of drugs or procedures not covered by plans — and it’s all too much for many Americans.

Holly Wilson of Denver, a communications company fraud investigator who has congestive heart failure and high blood pressure, recently went without her blood pressure pills for three months because she couldn’t afford them, given her $2,500 deductible. Her blood pressure shot so high, her doctor told her she risked a stroke.

And LaRita Jacobs of Seminole, Fla., who gets insurance through her husband’s job and has an annual family income of $70,000, says $7,500 a year in out-of-pocket costs kept her from dealing with an arthritis-related neck problem until it got so bad she couldn’t lift a fork. She’s now putting off shoulder surgery.

“How did we get to this crazy life?” asks Jacobs, 54. “We’re struggling to pay our bills like we were struggling when we first got started.”

Upsetting, right? Let me remind all of us that elections have consequences. Perhaps next time around we’ll elect a sane person, and our health care problems will be worked out.

Just kidding.

– Aggie

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Pop Quiz!!

Which shitty little country saw the biggest emigration of Jews, heading for Israel?

I gave you a hint, but I’ll expand. At a diplomatic dinner in Britain some years ago, the French diplomat referred to Israel as a “shitty little country”. So we know the French attitude towards Israelis, and Jews. (We know it in more ways than this, naturally.)

Did you guess? France is our Winner!!! Congrats France! Keep the angry Muslim youth and keep the white supremacists, but disgorge your Jews:

According to the end-of-year figures released on Wednesday by the Jewish Agency for Israel and the The Ministry of Immigrant Absorption, aliyah hit a 10-year high in 2014 – with the arrival of about 26,500 fresh immigrants.

A total of 3,762 Jews from US and Canada and 525 from UK fulfilled their dream to immigrate to Israel in the past year, Nefesh B’Nefesh reports.

The year 2014 saw a 32% increase in immigrants, compared to the approximately 20,000 immigrants that made aliyah to Israel in 2013. For the first time in Israel’s history, France has topped the list of countries of origin for immigrants to Israel – 7,000 new immigrants from France arrived in Israel in 2014, more than twice as much as the 3,400 French immigrants who arrived last year. [More than twice as many – how impressive! – Aggie]

Furthermore, about 5,840 new immigrants came to Israel from Ukraine, compared to 2,020 in 2013. The 190% immigration increase was primarily due to the ongoing instability in the eastern part of Ukraine. [I always as this, but I’ll do it again – how is it even possible that Jews still reside in Ukraine? Jeesh. – Aggie]

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky [Fun fact: Did you know that Natan Sharansky used to be known as Russian dissident and prisoner, Anatoly Sharansky, the Father of the modern Human Rights Movement? They hate him now, of course, because he is an Israeli Jews.] said, “2014 was a year of record-breaking aliyah. This year also saw a historic shift: For the first time in Israel’s history, the number of immigrants who came to Israel from the free world is greater than that of immigrants fleeing the countries in distress.

I’d like to comment on that last sentence. It is true, but also not true. French Jews are in real distress. France, while gloriously beautiful, is a shitty little antisemitic place where Jews cannot freely practice their religion, attend public schools in safety, or even attend private schools without being slaughter by “The French”. Do they even exist, “The French”? Why do they deserve a country? But I digress.

The other thing that is true is that Israel is booming. Great economy, great food, happy people, beautiful landscape and more safety from terrorism than in, say, Dijon, France. I’ve been several times, and the most recent trip highlighted the fact that it is a great place to visit, or even to live. This draws Westerners from shitty little antisemitic places, who in the past might have feared that their children couldn’t receive the education, or health care or whatever, that is available in said Shitty Countries. It is clear that you can raise a mathematician or a concert level violinist, or get excellent cancer treatment in Israel. Adorable kiddie might not become and Olypic level skier, but who cares?

And so the Jews who want to conduct their religious life, personal life and business life in peace and sanity are leaving. I’m told that coastal Natanya is called Little Paris for the food, etc. I’ll have to check it out next time.

– Aggie

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Some Say

The darnedest things:

Many businesses in low-wage industries have hired more part-time workers and cut the hours of full-timers recently to soften the impact of new health law requirements that take effect Thursday, some consultants say.

Do tell! And how long have some been saying that? Did it only just occur to them? Because some others, those very few who actually read and considered the law (no members of Congress in their number), have not only said that, but predicted it.

The strategies have had only a modest impact on job growth, which has accelerated substantially this year, but could take a somewhat bigger toll next year as firms gear up for an expanded health care mandate in 2016.

A modest impact? Maybe nobody read the ObamaCare bill—but did they not read the latest unemployment stats?

Among the employed in November, the number of people working part time for economic reasons, at 6.9 million, changed little over the month.

The number has been creeping down over the year (year six of the recovery), but I did note that those who “could only find part-time work” ticked up by 6,000 last month.

But there’s only so much lipstick this pig can take:

A majority of small businesses say the Affordable Care Act already has hurt their profits, forcing them to reduce or postpone investment, withhold raises or trim other types of benefits, according to a new survey by the top small-business trade group.

[T]he number of part-time workers who say they’d prefer full-time jobs has remained stubbornly high. That can at least partly be traced to the inclination of the restaurant, retail and hotel industries to hire more part-time workers to sidestep the ACA mandate, Royal Bank of Scotland wrote in a recent report.

Forty-two percent of the 900 firms surveyed say their health plan costs have risen at least 10% this year. As a result, 37% are delaying or postponing investment, and 26% are freezing or reducing wages.

Mike DeVoge, owner of a 12-employee marina in Conneaut Lake, Pa., says costs for the six workers who are eligible for insurance recently increased 40% and are set to rise another 60% in 2016. That, he says will likely force him to freeze wages and drop health benefits in a year.

When Obama said he thought about the economy from the first thing in the morning to the last thing at night, we should have known this was coming. But it’s all good, because the equivalent of the population of Eritrea signed up for ObamaCare this year.

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Judenfrei = Zionistfrei

Europe will always be a cesspool of Jew hatred

In Nazi Germany, it was all the rage to make one’s town Judenfrei. Now a new fashion is sweeping Europe: to make one’s town or city what we might call “Zionistfrei”—free of the products and culture of the Jewish state. Across the Continent, cities and towns are declaring themselves “Israel-free zones,” insulating their citizens from Israeli produce and culture. It has ugly echoes of what happened 70 years ago.

Leicester City Council in England last month voted to boycott goods made in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. All services run by the council will be free of any product or technology made in any of the settlements. The motion “condemns the Government of Israel for its continuing illegal occupation of Palestine’s East Jerusalem and the West Bank” and resolves “to boycott any produce originating from illegal Israeli settlements.”

Leicester Mayor Peter Soulsby insists that there’s nothing anti-Semitic about this erection of an Israel-deflecting force field around the city, telling the local Leicester Mercury newspaper that it’s simply about expressing dismay with “the behavior of the Israeli state.”

But Jeffrey Kaufman, former president of Leicester’s Progressive Jewish Congregation, isn’t convinced. He wants to know why, “of all the horrible things going on in the world,” the council singled out Israel for punitive treatment. “It’s blatant anti-Semitism,” he said.

Other communities in Europe have gone further than Leicester. During this summer’s Gaza conflict, the town of Kinvara in western Ireland went completely Zionistfrei. Pro-Palestinian campaigners lobbied the town’s retailers, restaurants and cafes to expunge from their premises anything produced in Israel. All the businesses agreed, meaning Kinvara is now, in the eyes of anti-Israel agitators, morally pure. It is held up as a model town by numerous European backers of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions, or BDS, movement.

Also during the Gaza conflict, the mayor of Newry in Northern Ireland wrote to all the retailers of his district asking them to provide a list of the Israeli products they stock. He then asked them to remove these products from sale—he was backed by 21 votes to three on the Newry Council.

Numerous Spanish provinces have this year been bombarded with requests to reject the “products, culture and sport” of the state of Israel. When BDS activists can’t get official backing for their desire to live Zionistfrei lives, they take things into their own hands. Three years ago in Montpellier, France, BDS activists spent an hour and a half rampaging through a shopping mall and “de-shelving” all the fruit produced in Israel.

Under pressure from campaigners to break off all links with Israel, the French city of Lille in October ripped up its twinning accord with the Israeli city of Safed. Roger Cukierman, president of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, was quoted in the French press saying Lille’s officials had shown a “heinous attitude toward the Israeli people.”

In 2011, the council of West Dunbartonshire in Scotland voted to boycott all Israeli products and instructed all local libraries to stop stocking books printed in the state of Israel. Why not just burn them?

More at the link. My answer is to travel to Israel frequently, to spend money on Israeli goods, and to absolutely avoid European goods. Israel makes decent wine, folks. And there are lots of opportunities to purchase Israeli fruits and vegetables. We really should openly and loudly condemn Europe and boycott Europe.

– Aggie

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Let’s Play “Essentially Unchanged”!™

Totally awesome unemployment news today—if you don’t read the fine print:

In November, the unemployment rate held at 5.8 percent, and the number of unemployed persons was little changed at 9.1 million. Over the year, the unemployment rate and the number of unemployed persons were down by 1.2 percentage points and 1.7 million, respectively. (See table A-1.)

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men rose to 5.4 percent in November. The rates for adult women (5.3 percent), teenagers (17.7 percent), whites (4.9 percent), blacks (11.1 percent), and Hispanics (6.6 percent) showed little change over the month. The jobless rate for Asians was 4.8 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 2.8 million in November. These individuals accounted for 30.7 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 1.2 million. (See table A-12.)

The civilian labor force participation rate held at 62.8 percent in November and has been essentially unchanged since April. The employment-population ratio, at 59.2 percent, was unchanged in November but is up by 0.6 percentage point over the year. (See table A-1.)

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers), at 6.9 million, changed little in November. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job. (See table A-8.)

In November, 2.1 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey. (See table A-16.)

Among the marginally attached, there were 698,000 discouraged workers in November, little different from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) Discouraged workers are persons not currently looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them. The remaining 1.4 million persons marginally attached to the labor force in November had not searched for work for reasons such as school attendance or family responsibilities. (See table A-16.)

If you read Table A-1, you will learn that last month the total number of unemployed increased by 115,000, “persons who currently want a job” were up 8,000, and those “not in the labor force” up 69,000. I’m no economist, but that’s hardly news to be celebrated. I don’t know who they are and where they came from (the “marginally attached” were “little different” from last year), but the numbers don’t lie. Or do they? We just added more than the population of Fargo, ND to the ranks of the unemployed, with nary a ripple in the unemployment rate. Nice work if you can get it.

PS: Table A-16 has some gems too. Multiple job-holders are way up over the year. A lot of those new jobs would be part-time. Thanks, ObamaCare.

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It’s Unexpected!™

I’d almost forgotten it’s time for that holiday favorite. But with another election behind us, the reality of the situation can leak out:

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits rose to the highest level since September, while durable goods order for October unexpectedly rose.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 21,000 to a seasonally adjusted 313,000 for the week ended Nov. 22, the Labor Department said on Wednesday. It was the first-time since early September that claims broke above the 300,000 threshold.

Imagine! Ten straight weeks of rosy jobs news, and then this clinker after the midterms. Who could have expected such a thing?

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It Is With Real Pleasure The We Award..

Our coveted ‘Ya Think?™ Award to … Charles Schumer!

Sen. Chuck Schumer upbraided his own party Tuesday for pushing the Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010.

While Schumer emphasized during a speech at the National Press Club that he supports the law and that its policies “are and will continue to be positive changes,” he argued that the Democrats acted wrongly in using their new mandate after the 2008 election to focus on the issue rather than the economy at the height of a terrible recession.

“After passing the stimulus, Democrats should have continued to propose middle-class-oriented programs and built on the partial success of the stimulus, but unfortunately Democrats blew the opportunity the American people gave them,” Schumer said. “We took their mandate and put all of our focus on the wrong problem—health care reform.”

The third-ranking Senate Democrat noted that just about 5 percent of registered voters in the United States lacked health insurance before the implementation of the law, arguing that to focus on a problem affecting such “a small percentage of the electoral made no political sense.” [Question: What percentage of registered voters lack health insurance today, after the Democrats took over more than 1/6th of the economy? And isn’t it a bit cold of Chuck to focus only on voters? What about the children? – Aggie]

The larger problem, affecting most Americans, he said, was a poor economy resulting from the recession. “When Democrats focused on health care, the average middle-class person thought, ‘The Democrats aren’t paying enough attention to me,’ ” Schumer said.

Oh, well, he’s partially right. ObamaCare shouldn’t have been passed in 2010, or 2011, or 2012, or 2013 or 2014. It should not have passed because half the country was dead set against it. It garnered not one single Republican vote. And that’s a problem if you want a cohesive country where people work together.

Their economic prescription was wrong too, but that’s another post.

Anyway, congrats Chuck!

– Aggie

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Demographics Against Democrats

Here’s a word you don’t often see associated with Republicans: Demographics.

Over the past five years, the Democratic Party has tried to add class warfare to its pre-existing focus on racial and gender grievances, and environmental angst. Shortly after his re-election in 2012, President Obama claimed to have “one mandate .?.?. to help middle-class families and families that are working hard to try to get into the middle class.”

Yet despite the economic recovery, it is precisely these voters, particularly the white middle and working classes, who, for now, have deserted the Democrats for the GOP, the assumed party of plutocracy. The key in the 2014 mid-term elections was concern about the economy; early exit polls Tuesday night showed that seven in 10 voters viewed the economy negatively, and this did not help the Democratic cause.

“The Democrats have committed political malpractice,” says Morley Winograd, a longtime party activist and a former top aide to Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton years. “They have not discussed the economy and have no real program. They are offering the middle class nothing.”

Winograd believes that the depth of white middle- and working-class angst threatens the bold predictions in recent years about an “emerging Democratic majority” based on women, millennials, minorities and professionals. Non-college educated voters broke heavily for the GOP, according to the exit polling, including some 62% of white non-college voters. This reflects a growing trend: 20 years ago districts with white, working-class majorities tilted slightly Democratic; before the election they favored the GOP by a 5 to 1 margin, and several of the last white, Democratic congressional holdovers from the South, notably West Virginia’s Nick Rahall and Georgia’s John Barrow, went down to defeat Tuesday night.

Rather than the promise of “hope and change,” according to exit polls, 50% of voters said they lack confidence that their children will do better than they have, 10 points higher than in 2010. This is not surprisingly given that nearly 80% state that the recession has not ended, at least for them.

Much more; do read.

But we have enough for discussion to work with here. The GDP grew a respectable 3.5% last quarter, after a whopping 4.6% the quarter before. The unemployment rate is finally below 6%, and the “Unexpected”™ weekly layoff numbers have been historically low recently. Yet nobody feels good about the economy.

Are we stupid? Or have five-plus years of piss-poor “recovery” left us jaded? The labor participation rate is still at historic lows, and 93 million Americans—about the total population of Spain and Kenya combined—don’t work.

And some of us have more personal reasons:

[W]hile failing most Americans, the Obama era has been very kind to plutocrats of all kinds. Low interest rates have hurt middle-income retirees while helping to send the stock market soaring. Quantitative easing has helped boost the price of assets like high-end real estate; in contrast middle and working class people, as well as small businesses, find access to capital or mortgages still very difficult.

Perhaps the biggest attrition for the Democrats has been among middle-class voters employed in the private sector, particularly small property and business owners. In the 1980s and 1990s, middle- and working-class people benefited from economic expansions, garnering about half the gains; in the current recovery almost all benefits have gone to the top one percent, particularly the wealthiest sliver of that rarified group.

You can bet Elizabeth Warren knows those numbers. It would behoove the Republicans to learn them too. I have no patience for bashing the wealthy and chanting about the “99%”, but if Obama’s recovery has left the middle class behind—how many new jobs are full time? who gets a raise any more?—smart people know their political future, and the country’s economic future, lie in getting that right.

And I do not want that person to be Elizabeth Warren.

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Stocks Tank

The Dow and the S&P are both down almost 2% for the day. What do you blame? Ebola? ISIS? Global economic slowdown?

All of the above?

The Dow plunged as much as 460 points Wednesday afternoon before pulling back a bit, although a 370 point loss isn’t anything to cheer. There wasn’t an obvious trigger. Ebola and Europe’s sour economy are clearly worrying. Earnings have been so-so, and retail sales data out this morning was disappointing.

But if you’re keeping an eye on the numbers, here are three critical stats to watch. There is no “magic number” that triggers a sell-off, but these indicators would be big red flags.

We’re near a correction, but not there yet

Only a month ago, the S&P 500 index closed at an all-time high of 2,011. At its worst point Wednesday morning, the index was down around 9.5% since then. That’s rough, but it’s not quite the 10% drop that would constitute a true correction, let alone the 20% drop that would signal a bear market.

Keep an eye on this number: 1,810. If the S&P 500 slips below that, we’re in a correction. As of Wednesday afternoon, the S&P is hovering around 1,830.

Investors are putting money into bonds. It’s debatable whether it’s a ‘freak out’

When investors get scared, they don’t run to mom, they run to bonds, especially U.S. government bonds. The yield on the 10-year Treasury is a good indicator of just how many people are seeking the safe arms of the bond market.

When the yield falls, you know people are gobbling up bonds.

In the middle of September, the yield on the 10-year Treasury was around 2.6%. On Tuesday it was at 2.2%. That’s a quick drop, but the real indicator of a meltdown would be for the yield to drop to 2% or even below.

Sure enough, on Wednesday, the yield fell below that mark several times, although it is on track to close just above the 2% mark.

The last time that happened was in 2012 when Europe was in the midst of a debt crisis and America’s economic recovery was looking uncertain.

Market jitters are back, but we’re not quite at a “correction” yet.

The numbers change constantly, naturally, and they’ve moderated somewhat since I started this post.

I told you to enjoy this “recovery” while it lasted; you’ve had it since June of ’09, making this past the sixth Recovery Summer. What more do you want? Jobs? Then you elected the wrong guy, twice. Three hundred point dips in the DJIA are your reward.

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs! [UPDATED]

Woo-hoo! Almost 250k new jobs! Unemployment below 6% for the first time in six years! Drinks on the house!

Make mine a whiskey…sour:

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was essentially unchanged at 3.0 million in September. These individuals accounted for 31.9 percent of the unemployed. Over the past 12 months, the number of long-term unemployed is down by 1.2 million.

The civilian labor force participation rate, at 62.7 percent, changed little in September. The employment-population ratio was 59.0 percent for the fourth consecutive month.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was little changed in September at 7.1 million. These individuals, who would have preferred full-time employment, were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.

In September, 2.2 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, essentially unchanged from a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.

There’s good news here—a quarter-million jobs is a quarter million jobs—but the truth of the numbers is that three million people—almost a third of all unemployed—have been jobless for more than six months. If I read the language right, 2.2 million of those have been jobless for at least a year. Another 7.1 million can’t find full-time work.

Excuse me if I’m not persuaded by more than ten million Americans who haven’t been able to find a better job, or any job at all, for months. And that the numbers are “essentially unchanged” from other recent miserable reports. Excuse me if I find dropping unemployment poor compensation for a historically bottom-scraping civilian labor force participation rate and employment-population ratio.

An unemployment rate of 5.9% may seem a return to normalcy, but this is a fundamentally changed America. Legions of workers have drifted into the shadows, never to return. Once, they helped push the cart; today, through no fault of their own, they’re along for ride. Sorry to be the cloud in your silver lining.

UPDATE
Zero Hedge make this Oscar the Grouch sound like Elmo:

[W]hile according to the Household Survey, 232,000 people found jobs, what is more disturbing is that the people not in the labor force, rose to a new record high, increasing by 315,000 to 92.6 million!

And I hope you’re ready for this:

The further one digs into today’s “blockbuster” jobs report, the uglier it gets. Because it is not only the participation rate collapse, the slide in average earnings, but, topping it all off, we just learned that the future of the US workforce is bleak. In fact, with the age of the median employed male now in their mid-40’s, the US workforce has never been older. Case in point: the September data confimed that the whopping surge in jobs… was thanks to your “grandparents” those in the 55-69 age group, which comprised the vast majority of the job additions in the month, at a whopping 230K.This was the biggest monthly jobs increase in the 55 and over age group since February!

What about the prime worker demographic, those aged 25-54 and whose work output is supposed to propel the US economy forward? They lost 10,000 jobs.

But don’t let this spoil Barack’s big day!

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