Archive for Jobs

So Much Owed to So Many by So Few

In the few remaining minutes we can even remotely trust anything from the Census Bureau…

Buried deep on the website of the U.S. Census Bureau is a number every American citizen, and especially those entrusted with public office, should know. It is 86,429,000.

That is the number of Americans who in 2012 got up every morning and went to work — in the private sector — and did it week after week after week.

Of the 103,087,000 full-time, year-round workers, 16,606,000 worked for the government. That included 12,597,000 who worked for state and local government and 4,009,000 who worked for the federal government.

Why does he single out private sector workers? Don’t public sector workers work too (after a fashion)? Maybe so, but they are paid by the taxes of the 86 million private sector workers.

Which gets to his point:

At first glance, 86,429,000 might seem like a healthy population of full-time private-sector workers. But then you need to look at what they are up against.

The Census Bureau also estimates the size of the benefit-receiving population.

This population, too, falls into two broad categories. The first includes those who receive benefits for public services they performed or in exchange for payroll taxes they dutifully paid their entire working lives. Among these, for example, are those receiving veteran’s benefits, those on unemployment and those getting Medicare and Social Security.

The second category includes those who get “means-tested” government benefits — or welfare. These include, for example, those who get Medicaid, food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, public housing, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and Women, Infants Children.

There were 108,592,000 million people in the fourth quarter of 2011 who lived in a household that included people on “one or more means-tested program.”

Those 108,592,000 outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private-sector workers who inhabited the United States in 2012 by almost 1.3 to 1.

This brings us to the first category of benefit receivers. There were 49,901,000 people receiving Social Security in the fourth quarter of 2011, and 46,440,000 receiving Medicare. There were also 5,098,000 getting unemployment compensation.

And there were also, 3,178,000 veteran receiving benefits and 34,000 veterans getting educational assistance.

All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who “received benefits from one or more programs” in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers.

The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1.

How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?

Baby boomers are stating to retire. Each former worker who starts to collect benefits represents a two-person swing. (If ten people work to support ten beneficiaries, and one retires, the difference is now two, nine to eleven.)

One can make a moral case against this (it’s unfair and improper for a nation of 320 million people to be supported by barely a quarter of the population). But one doesn’t need to resort to moral arguments (fear not, liberals). Who thinks this is sustainable? When does the precarious balance come crashing down? Always sooner than you think is the answer.

And only Mark Steyn will be laughing as he cashes his royalty checks.

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Obama’s War On Women

Or More Good News From The ObamaEconomy

The number of women who were unemployed in the United States climbed 180,000 in March, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In March, there were 4,850,000 unemployed women, 180,000 more than the 4,670,000 American women were unemployed in February, according to BLS.

At the same time, the unemployment rate for women rose from 6.4 percent in February to 6.6 percent in March.

To be counted as unemployed, a person must have actively sought a job in the last four weeks and be part of what BLS calls the civilian noninstitutional population (meaning a person is 16 or older and not on active duty in the military or in an institution such as a prison, mental hospital or nursing home).

The number of American women who had jobs dropped 133,000 from February to March, declining from 68,458,000 to 68,325,000.

From February to March, the number of women in the civilian noninstitutional population increased by 84,000, climbing from 127,779,000 to 127,863,000. Of those 127,863,000 women in the civilian noninstitutional population, 73,175,000 participated in the civilian labor force, meaning they either had a job or actively sought one in the past four weeks. That put the labor force participation rate for women at 57.2 percent in March–the same as it was in February.

ETC. More at the link. But we can truthfully say that Obama has a War on Women (I wonder if we are stacked in binders somewhere?) and that anyone who goes to war against women is attacking The Children. Because a lot of those women are single providers, of course. And a distressed, desperate mom is not the Best She Can Be… Why, oh why, are we doing this to the children? Ask your Progressive friends. Maybe they understand the answer, I sure don’t.

- Aggie

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More Betterer News From The ObamaEconomy

To read The More Betterer News, see below.

- Aggie

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More, More Great News From The ObamaEconomy!!!!

A better class of cabbies

This is truly sad, but again, who did he and his family vote for? And how many times?

BOSTON — Abe Gorelick has decades of marketing experience, an extensive contact list, an Ivy League undergraduate degree, a master’s in business from the University of Chicago, ideas about how to reach consumers young and old, experience working with businesses from start-ups to huge financial firms and an upbeat, effervescent way about him. What he does not have — and has not had for the last year — is a full-time job.

Five years since the recession ended, it is a story still shared by millions. Mr. Gorelick, 57, lost his position at a large marketing firm last March. As he searched, taking on freelance and consulting work, his family’s finances slowly frayed. He is now working three jobs, driving a cab and picking up shifts at Lord & Taylor and Whole Foods.

“I’m not in my basement, unshaven, unshowered, drinking a bottle of Scotch a day,” Mr. Gorelick said. “I’m out there working these jobs, meeting people and trying to make something happen. But it is exhausting. It is stressful. It is difficult.”

For people experiencing such long spells without appropriate work, it is a crisis. Often, it is also a conundrum: What should a worker who finds himself out of a job for six months or more do?

“There is this very pressing issue,” said Ofer Sharone, a sociologist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “and there is this great gap in knowledge about what to do about it, both for policy makers and these individuals.” Should long-term jobless workers seek out career counseling? Should they accept far lower salaries? Should politicians revamp training programs? To those questions, and to many others, there are too few answers.

Or, should government turn to business friendly policies in order to stimulate growth? Nah.

- Aggie

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Try Not To Let This Damage Your Faith In The ObamaEconomy

Labor force participation rate among 20-somethings lowest in 33 years.

The labor force participation rate in 2013 for Americans in their twenties hit the lowest level recorded since 1981, when the Bureau of Labor Statistics started releasing employment data on people in the full age bracket of 20 through 29.

The labor force participation rate for people ages 20 through 24—which BLS has been tracking since 1948—hit a 42-year low in 2013.

Since 2008, the last year before President Barack Obama took office, the number of Americans in their twenties who were not in the labor force during the average month has climbed from 8,756,000 to 10,511,000—an increase of 1,755,000 or 20 percent.

The 10,511,000 Americans age 20 through 29 who were not in the labor force in 2013 is the highest ever recorded by BLS.

The patriotic thing to do would be to rush out to Starbucks and help keep the ones that do have jobs employed. Maybe eat in a fast food joint tonight. Anything to grow the economy.

- Aggie

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The Wrath of Grapes

My contrived title to the very real phenomenon of reverse-Okies—people leaving the beautiful land of orchards and vineyards for the sagebrush of Texas:

Allied Van Lines conducted 66,862 interstate residential moves last year, most of which weighed around 10,000 pounds. But 10.8% of those clocked in at a hefty 16,000 pounds or more, says Steve McKenna, Allied’s vice president for pricing.

The majority of these moves are due to corporate relocations, where a company initiates the move for an employee.

“You have the vice presidents and senior vice presidents who have accumulated a lot of furniture and stuff in general. That definitely drives luxury moves,” he says, adding that 40% of Allied’s moves overall are corporate moves.

According to the data, Texas saw the largest influx of well-heeled households moving into the state last year, consistent with move trends overall. South Carolina and Florida also posted net gains.

On the flip side, Illinois and Pennsylvania saw more high-value households move out of state than in, according to the data.

California saw the biggest net loss of heavy-weight moves.

Last year, California had a net loss of 49,259 people to other states, according to the U.S. Census.

Texas had the highest net gain in terms of domestic migration—113,528 more people moved into the state than out last year, census data show.

Why do people move to an armpit like Texas from the Eden that is California?

Job opportunities are home-buyers’ top reason for relocating to Texas, according to a Redfin survey last month of 1,909 customers and website users.

Lifestyle factors are the most cited reasons for relocating to areas in California.

A lifestyle fewer and fewer people can afford, evidently. Democrat policies in action: driving the middle class out, leaving only the super-wealthy and impoverished behind. Good luck with that.

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What, Really, is the Point?

We barely notice Tom Friedman anymore, much less quote him. The other sages of the Times op-ed page, Kristof, Dowd, et al appear here more rarely still, if at all. The page has shrunk itself to insignificance.

About the only one who anyone notices these days is Paul Krugman. And that’s only because…

Well, have a look:

Yesterday, New York Times columnist and CUNY economics professor Paul Krugman had some very strong words about the position in Republican Congressman Paul Ryan’s new poverty report that American welfare programs discourage work and “actually reduce opportunity, creating a poverty trap.” In fact, after contrasting the Ryan report’s view on poverty traps with some data on inequality and welfare states, Krugman resoundingly concluded that Ryan’s ideas were a total sham:

So the whole poverty trap line is a falsehood wrapped in a fallacy; the alleged facts about incentive effects are mostly wrong, and in any case the entire premise that work effort = social mobility is wrong.

Despite Krugman’s strong conclusions, however, Ryan’s views about US welfare policies and poverty traps are actually pretty mainstream – cited by people across the political spectrum as a big reason to reform state federal poverty programs. In fact, a New York Times columnist and Princeton economics professor expressed these widely-held views on the Old Grey Lady’s pages a mere two months ago:

But our patchwork, uncoordinated system of antipoverty programs does have the effect of penalizing efforts by lower-income households to improve their position: the more they earn, the fewer benefits they can collect. In effect, these households face very high marginal tax rates. A large fraction, in some cases 80 cents or more, of each additional dollar they earn is clawed back by the government.”

Even more, the Ryan report’s “poverty trap” analysis is based on the work of the Urban Institute’s Gene Steuerle’s (see p. 7 of the Ryan report), on whom the very same Princeton professor once wrote:

[I]t’s actually a well-documented fact that effective marginal rates are highest, not on the superrich, but on workers toward the lower end of the scale. Why? Partly because of the payroll tax, but largely because of means-tested benefits that fade out as your income rises. Here’s a recent discussion by Eugene Steuerle…

That professor, if you haven’t already guessed, was none other than Paul Krugman.

That could be called mailing it in, but he isn’t even licking the stamp. To have an intellectual debate, you need an intellect. This discussion is a waste of time. Krugman evidently did as much to earn his Nobel Prize in Economics as Barack Obama did for his in Peace.

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If You Like Your Chili Dog, You Can Keep Your Chili Dog

But it’ll cost you:

Untitled

Diners at eight Gator’s Dockside casual eateries are finding a 1% Affordable Care Act surcharge on their tabs, which comes to 15 cents on a typical $15 lunch tab. Signs on the door and at tables alert diners to the fee, which is also listed separately on the bill.

The Gator Group’s full-time hourly employees won’t actually receive health insurance until December. But the company said it implemented the surcharge now because of the compliance costs it’s facing ahead of the Affordable Care Act’s employer mandate kicking in in 2015.

“The costs associated with ACA compliance could ultimately close our doors,” the sign reads. “Instead of raising prices on our products to generate the additional revenue needed to cover the costs of ACA compliance, certain Gator’s Dockside locations have implemented a 1% surcharge on all food and beverage purchases only.”

The fee will allow the company to continue offering full-time hours to many workers, according to Sandra Clark, the group’s director of operations.

“I’m just trying to keep the employees I have that I’ve worked hard to train,” Clark said.

In addition to the costs of providing health care, the company hired one additional staffer and a consulting firm to make sure it is complying with the law and to assist in the additional tracking of workers’ hours and wages required by Obamacare, said Clark.

Clark is not sure how much the company is spending on compliance, but estimates that it will cost $500,000 a year to extend insurance to its full-time hourly restaurant workers. The surcharge may bring in about $160,000 a year, she hopes.

Sure, they could have buried it in the price of a chicken sandwich with rib sauce, but why should they? The cost has nothing to do with the chicken sandwich (or the rib sauce) and everything to do with a government mandate. Sorry, tax. That’s why it’s listed as such. Call it truth in advertising.

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It’s Unexpected!™

Jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week.

Who’d'a’thunk’it?

The number of Americans filing new claims for unemployment benefits unexpectedly rose last week, but the underlying trend suggested no shift in labor market conditions.

Initial claims for state unemployment benefits increased 14,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the Labor Department said on Thursday. Claims for the prior week were revised to show 2,000 fewer applications received than previously reported.

Economists polled by Reuters had forecast first-time applications for jobless benefits slipping to 335,000 in the week ended Feb. 22, which included the Presidents Day holiday.

While last week’s increase pushed them to the upper end of their range so far this year, it probably does not signal labor market weakness as claims tend to be volatile around federal holidays.

So, they’re blaming the Monday holiday and the cold weather. What a bunch of baloney. We have a chronically weak economy to go along with our weak leadership.

- Aggie

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What About Fairness?

Please hear fairness as I’m saying it: FAIIIRNESS

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Tuesday delayed action on legislation raising the minimum wage, the centerpiece of the Democrats’ 2014 agenda.

The Nevada Democrat made the surprising move amid escalating Democratic resistance in the wake of a Congressional Budget Office report released last week estimating that hiking the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour could cost the equivalent of 500,000 jobs by late 2016.

That got your attention, did it, Dems? Half a million to a million jobs kaput because of your simpleminded meddling? Why is this situation different from everything else you’ve done?

Sen. Mark Pryor (Ark.), the chamber’s most vulnerable incumbent, has said he does not support the legislation. He does, however, back a pending plan in his home state to increase the minimum wage to $8.50.

Other Democrats up for reelection who have not co-sponsored the Harkin measure include Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), Kay Hagan (N.C.) and Mary Landrieu (La.).

Oh right, election year. The public has a limit on Democrat-induced job losses (from minimum wage, ObamaCare, tax hikes) before they vote en masse for the other party(-ies). You have no problem shrinking the labor force, but only up that point.

Reid blamed the delay on Republicans.

“The obstruction continues and it slows things down,” he said. “We’ve also been hampered by trying to get an extension of unemployment benefits. The slowdown has been a result of continued obstruction.”

Mm-hmm, yeah, sure. Obstruction, bad. See you in November, leper.

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Stick it to the Union

We’ve already commented on the very satisfying thumping meted out to the UAW at the VW plant in Tennessee. But we still wanted to know what Robert Samuelson had to say.

This nugget caught my eye:

Unions’ eclipse has been stunning. At the end of World War II, roughly a third of private-sector jobs were unionized, especially in large firms. By 2013, the comparable figure was 6.7 percent, says the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (The rate of unionization for all workers was 11.3 percent, but that figure resulted only from greater unionization — 35.3 percent — among government workers. As late as 1983, the total unionization rate was 20 percent.)

Consider: each private sector new-hire (i.e. worker) is only one-fifth as likely to join a union as a public sector new-hire (i.e. hack). Is it any wonder that so many new jobs are in the public sector? Any wonder that Obama’s policies are so hostile to private job creation? Unions like SEIU are Obama’s purple-shirted shock troops; they’ve got his back and he’s got theirs.

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Dirty Tricks

Mike Rowe, host of the late, lamented Discovery Channel show Dirty Jobs, is in trouble for this:

Walmart wants to put a quarter of a trillion dollars into US manufacturing, and that’s bad?

Oh right, jobs lead to “job lock”. We now pay people not to work. Anyone who still works is a sucker, a sap, a patsy. Dirty Jobs used to celebrate the kinds of jobs that were the kinds of jobs Americans wouldn’t do (allegedly). Except he had no problem finding roof tarrers and turkey semen harvesters (or whatever they were doing to those poor birds). What a quaint notion of the value of work.

Rowe defends himself—by pleading guilty:

I’ve never worked in a Walmart; never even shopped in one. Unlike some people, however, I don’t base my opinions on ignorance (not that you’d know that by reading this blog). If Walmart wants to put $250,000,000,000 toward American manufacturing—their own money, not “stimulus” money bilked from taxpayers—I’m not going to complain.

In fact, I might just go shopping.

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