Archive for Unemployment

Minimum Wage, Maximum Layoffs

I’ve thrown in the towel on the minimum wage. I don’t support jacking it up—see below—but who looks good arguing against posers and demagogues?

Once fully implemented in the second half of 2016, the $10.10 option would reduce total employment by about 500,000 workers, or 0.3 percent, CBO projects (see the table below). As with any such estimates, however, the actual losses could be smaller or larger; in CBO’s assessment, there is about a two-thirds chance that the effect would be in the range between a very slight reduction in employment and a reduction in employment of 1.0 million workers…

The increased earnings for low-wage workers resulting from the higher minimum wage would total $31 billion, by CBO’s estimate. However, those earnings would not go only to low-income families, because many low-wage workers are not members of low-income families. Just 19 percent of the $31 billion would accrue to families with earnings below the poverty threshold, whereas 29 percent would accrue to families earning more than three times the poverty threshold, CBO estimates.

Moreover, the increased earnings for some workers would be accompanied by reductions in real (inflation-adjusted) income for the people who became jobless because of the minimum-wage increase, for business owners, and for consumers facing higher prices.

In sum: perhaps a million could lose their jobs; less than a fifth of the higher wages would go to people in poverty. Oh well.

Of course, a million more unemployed, at 99 weeks unemployment benefits, means 99,000,000 benefit-weeks of payouts. Those benefits vary by state, but a vague average of $250 seems reasonable for our estimation. Raising the minimum wage to $10.10 could cost the nation as much as $25,000,000,000 in benefits—with a million fewer workers to pay taxes to cover the cost.

But it’s all good. Hey, raise it higher!

PS: You may remember my link to this awesome conversation Rush had with a caller two months ago.

CALLER: This is Sean in San Diego, and I believe those workers at McDonald’s and Burger King deserve some more money. The shareholders are getting rich. I watch every day on MarketWatch, and the CEO is getting rich. They’re making their profits. They can afford to pair their workers a bit more money. They’re not asking for much. They haven’t had a raise in 25 years.

RUSH: Really? In 1988, people at McDonald’s were making $7.25 an hour?

CALLER: I’m not exactly sure of that, but —

RUSH: Well, that would be important.

CALLER: They’re not being paid fairly, Rush.

RUSH: Why can’t they [get a job that does pay]?

CALLER: Probably no other jobs out there in this bad economy.

RUSH: Why? Why aren’t there any jobs out there?

CALLER: The Democrats have destroyed this economy. We all know that.

RUSH: Okay. Well, the minimum wage, by the way, back 25 years ago was $3.35 an hour, just to get the number out there. It was not what they’re making today. I’ll get the inflation calculator out and take a look at it. They’re asking for double their current wages. Sean, why doesn’t the McDonald’s franchise just pay it? You know, why not just give them more money?

CALLER: Oh, that’s simple. Greed.

RUSH: Greed? Or is it competition?

CALLER: Why should they if they don’t have to and nobody’s making them? Government sets the minimum wage, and they don’t want to do it.

RUSH: Well, okay. Let’s take a look McDonald’s, and let’s say the McDonald’s gives their employees a raise. Let’s just say $10 dollars an hour. Would that be enough?

CALLER: No. I don’t think so.

RUSH: Okay.

RUSH: How about this? How about McDonald’s raises everybody to $20 an hour? Would that be enough? Would that be okay?

CALLER: I think that would probably help a lot of people.

RUSH: What about $25 an hour?

CALLER: Managers should probably get at least that. They probably already do.

RUSH: Okay, then what about $30 an hour?

CALLER: If that’s the fair market rate.

RUSH: Well, no, that’s what $7.25 is.

CALLER: I don’t believe that.

RUSH: Yeah, that’s why it’s $7.25. It’s the fair market rate. It’s $7.25 not because it’s temporary. That’s the fair market rate. Let’s pay ‘em $50 an hour, how about that?

CALLER: $15 an hour.

RUSH: No, $50.

CALLER: $50?

RUSH: Five-oh, $50 an hour. How about that?

CALLER: Yeah. That should be the new fair market rate.

RUSH: Right on. Right? Well, let’s keep going, how about $75 an hour, let’s pay ‘em $75 an hour.

CALLER: Where you going with this?

Finally! It took how long for Sean from San Diego to get Rush’s point?

Except he doesn’t!

RUSH: Well, I want to know whether you agree with $75. I’m not going anywhere with it. If $50 is good, $60 would be better, right?

CALLER: Well, yeah.

RUSH: What about $75 an hour?

CALLER: Where you going with this, though? I don’t understand.

Coulda fooled me. But Rush is kinder than I am:

RUSH: Sean? Sean, one thing. I’m not trying to trick you. I’m not playing a trick on you here. Please don’t misunderstand. I’m not taking you anywhere. I don’t want you misunderstand.

The point, Sean, is that you just said that $7.25 isn’t the market price, and it is. That $7.25 an hour is what it requires for McDonald’s to be fully staffed. There are people who will work for that, and therefore that sets the wage scale. Now, $10 would be better.

Yeah, you can keep raising it, but at some point, everybody who believes in a minimum wage will say, “No, wait a minute. That’s too much,” and at that point, you have demonstrated that that there’s no market relationship. You’re just talking emotion. You’re just talking “fairness.” You’re just talking being nice, and that’s not how the market works. People aren’t paid a wage because they’re being nice to, or because it’s fair. In the market, the market rules. You can control it all you want, you could add arbitrary numbers on it all you want, and all you’re doing is delaying the inevitable.

The market will always win and will always rule, because it is the market.

Um-hmm.

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Employment Improves—Unless You’re Black

You would think that a lukewarm jobs report (four and a half years into “recovery”) would like a baby seal caught between a couple of hungry Inuits. You would be right—but only up to a point:

While 113,000 new jobs is pathetic, other metrics aren’t so bad (or could be worse). Forget the 6.6% unemployment rate; that’s a statistical lie. But my favorite diagnostic number—labor force participation rate—ticked up from a historic low to a only slightly less crappy 63%. The employment-population ratio also inched up from last month. Even the U6 un- and underemployed improved slightly.

So, how does a week jobs report jibe with unemployment numbers that could be worse? I looked through the subcategories and found one category—only one—that slumped last month: black men. Their unemployment rate jumped from 11.5% to 12%.

Their labor force participation rate and the employment-population ratio improved slightly, but theirs was the only unemployment rate that worsened. This was especially pronounced among black people, aged 16-19—their unemployment rate spiked from 35.5% to 38%, as their labor force and employment ratio numbers plummeted.

Simply put, whatever good news is implied by these numbers ignores the continued economic genocide on the African American community, especially its youth. Numbers can lie, but I don’t see how these do. America black people wouldn’t be worse off if that Exalted Cyclops, Robert Byrd (D-WV), were running the country.

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It’s Unexpected!™

Alternate title: Jobless Claims Rise; Black Man Blamed!

The number of people who sought U.S. unemployment benefits near the end of January rose to the highest level in six weeks, but it’s unclear if the increase is the residue of holiday-related distortions or reflects a deterioration in the labor market.

In the seven days ended Jan. 25, initial jobless claims jumped by 19,000 to a seasonally adjusted 348,000, the Labor Department said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had expected claims to edge up to 330,000.

The claims report is less reliable as a labor-market indicator from late November until the end of January because of the holiday season and wintry weather. The Martin Luther King holiday last week may also have skewed the report by causing delays in the processing of some applications.

Hey, he didn’t ask to be assassinated and have a holiday named after him.

Aggie’s interpretive hamsters, Barney and Frank, have been put out to stud (dread thought), so we’ll have to figure this out ourselves. Even though the economy grew relatively robustly last quarter (3.2%—keep the champagne on ice), and even though unemployment is being showed as falling, this crap keeps popping up. We can say that it’s the curse of Obamacare (rather, a curse of Obamacare; there are so many): employers letting go marginal workers. Or we can say we don’t believe anything from this serially lying administration. More jobless mean more jobless benefits. Canned workers serve Obama’s interest. Fiddle the numbers; extend benefits for not working another year or five; buy another class of government-dependent voters.

Or we can say all of the above.

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Unemployment Falls to 6.7%; Blacks, Employed Hardest Hit

Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer here, but not everything’s coming up roses (no matter how much BS they sling at it):

The number of unemployed persons declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million in December, and the unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point to 6.7 percent. Over the year, the number of unemployed persons and the unemployment rate were down by 1.9 million and 1.2 percentage points, respectively.

Woo-hoo! High five! I’m buying!

Ooooh, sorry black people for being so insensitive (but what else is new, right?):

The rates for adult women (6.0 percent), teenagers (20.2 percent), blacks (11.9 percent), and Hispanics (8.3 percent) showed little change.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more), at 3.9 million, showed little change; these individuals accounted for 37.7 percent of the unemployed.

The civilian labor force participation rate declined by 0.2 percentage point to 62.8 percent in December, offsetting a change of the same magnitude in November. In December, the employment-population ratio was unchanged at 58.6 percent.

The number of persons employed part time for economic reasons (sometimes referred to as involuntary part-time workers) was essentially unchanged at 7.8 million in December. These individuals were working part time because their hours had been cut back or because they were unable to find full-time work.

In December, 2.4 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force little changed from a year earlier.

Admittedly, I cherry-picked the unimpressive news—but you have to admit that’s a pie’s worth of cherries, Billy Boy. And where else are you going to read it?

Actual workers aren’t increasing (74,000 new jobs is about half of population growth); they’re just disappearing from the work force. Whether you measure by labor force participation rate (it fell to another historic low) or employment-population ratio (flat), the news is tepid at best.

Watch the Democrats claim victory on unemployment, while demanding a year’s worth unemployment benefits be added on. You know I’m not kidding.

PS: “Unchanged”, “showed little change”, etc.—like the Eskimos with “snow”, have you ever seen so many synonyms for “sucked”?

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Bloviating Gasbag

I haven’t seen this much hot air since the Hindenburg disaster:

“Voting for unemployment insurance helps people and creates jobs and voting against it does not,” Obama said in remarks at the White House.

In his first public appearance since returning from a two-week vacation, Obama excoriated the argument — put forward by some conservatives — that offering insurance to the long-term unemployed “saps their motivation to get a new job.”

“That really sells the American people short,” he said.

And we all know that’s your job, Mr. President.

Ask any independent economist (we’ve reported on enough over the years), and they’ll tell you to a man, woman, and transgendered person that subsidizing unemployment encourages (at least a little but) unemployment.

We did so not ten days ago:

Economists expect that the end of the emergency jobless benefits will, surprisingly, lead to a sharp drop in the unemployment rate, by as much as 0.5 percentage points.

I guessed that to be around 1.3 million people. Sorry, Barack.

Now, there are many analogies one could use to describe Barack’s behavior, but I like the one Rush employed today:

RUSH: Folks, you’ve heard the old saying, “Nero fiddled while Rome burned.” That is true. Rome was literally burning, and he could not have cared less. What people have forgotten about it is that Nero, he didn’t just fiddle while Rome burned; he started the fire. Nero wanted to burn down Rome in order to rebuild it in his own image. But to cover it up he blamed the Christians, who were then subsequently thrown to the lions.

Now, if you ask me, the story of Nero fiddled while Rome burned and then adding to it he started the fire sounds familiar to me.

Barack Obama has, for five years, had control over the US economy. His policies, his specific economic policies are the reason this country is in dire economic straits. Obama’s policies are the reason why there is no recovery — and if you want to call it a recovery, go ahead. If you do, it’s the worst recovery in the history of this country. So there is an analogy, I think, to Nero here.

Obama’s economic policies are destroying the US economy in order for him to rebuild it in his own socialist image.

Meanwhile, he blames all of this on the Republicans and is throwing them to the lions.

If you have any questions about whether Obama’s policies are destroying the economy, I would call your attention to Obamacare. Obamacare is destroying greatest health care system the world has ever known. If you doubt me that Obama’s policies are destructive, just look at Obamacare. His “signature achievement” is going so well that he has to distract people’s attention away from it with this razzmatazz, rigmarole, gobbledygook today at the White House on extending unemployment benefits.

Bread and circuses.

Only Barack (and a slavish media) could turn his singular failure—the economy—into a campaign for more failure.

And on the heels of a two-week-plus vacation in Hawaii, no less!

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You Say Beachcomb, I Say Titcomb, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off

President Obama wants those 1.3 million Americans who lost their (re-re-re-) extended unemployment benefits yesterday that he is thinking of them. In fact, he boycotted the golf course in protest.

Unless it was just blisters:

How President Barack Obama spent day eight of his holiday vacation in Hawaii on Saturday:

— HEALTH CARE UPDATE: White House officials said Saturday that the president received an update from his health care team late Friday night on the implementation of his signature federal health care overhaul.

The president said officials should prioritize consumer flexibility and minimizing disruptions for people switching plans, the White House said.

— GYM: Obama went for his usual morning workout at Marine Corps Base Hawaii in Kaneohe. As he returned to his vacation home, demonstrators waved signs representing various causes outside a blocked-off street leading to his neighborhood.

— NORTH SHORE BBQ: The first family joined longtime Obama friend Bobby Titcomb for an afternoon barbecue at Titcomb’s home in Waialua, an historic sugarcane plantation town on Oahu’s north shore.

Did Bobby invite any of his “special friends” to provide entertainment? Sorry, just wondering.

Besides, that’s all forgotten now:

The friend of President Obama who got busted in a Prostitution sting has gotten the crime removed from his record.

Bobby Titcomb got arrested back in April during an undercover police sting in Kakaako.

The 49-year-old pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge.

But the Prosecutors office says because he stayed out of trouble for six months, the conviction has been expunged.

Just like Auntie Zeituni’s and Uncle Omar’s repeated violations (not to mention Bill Ayers’)! What a coincidence! The president knows a lot of lucky people.

PS: Sorry, 1.3 million Americans, didn’t mean to forget you. You can go back to work now:

New York Times:

Economists expect that the end of the emergency jobless benefits will, surprisingly, lead to a sharp drop in the unemployment rate, by as much as 0.5 percentage points.

Surprising to whom? By my back-of-the-envelope calculations, more than half of the 1.3 million victims of this ObamEconomy would be working again if we just stopped paying them not to work.

Whose the Scrooge now?

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This is Rich

Is there a conservative mole at the Washington Post?

President Obama briefly interrupted his holiday vacation here Friday to urge Congress to pass an emergency extension of unemployment benefits.

With roughly 1.3 million out-of-work Americans set to lose their unemployment insurance starting Saturday, the White House said that Obama placed separate telephone calls Friday to Sens. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.) to offer his support for their proposal to extend benefits for three months.

Shortly after placing the calls, Obama and his family ventured to the white-sand beach at Bellows Air Force Station, which is on the windward side of the island of Oahu and features turquoise water and a stunning view of the Mokulua Islands.

That can’t be an accident of tone-deafness, can it? Contrasting the victims of Obama’s failed economy with Obama’s own enjoyment of “white-sand beaches” and “turquoise water”? At massive taxpayer expense? I didn’t think so.

With utmost respect and concern to those 1.3 million Americans, who did nothing to lose their jobs, they have received nearly two years of unemployment benefits already. Not since Detroit’s notorious “jobs banks” (or the fall of the Soviet Union) have so many people been paid not to work—and look how Detroit turned out. We as a country have been—and still are—extraordinarily generous. But we also know when something isn’t working. Or someone. The jackass in the White House, on the other hand… is just a jackass.

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A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Recovery

Funny strange, not funny ha-ha:

The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment benefits rose 10,000 last week to a seasonally adjusted 379,000, the highest since March. The increase may reflect volatility around the Thanksgiving holidays.

The Labor Department said Thursday that the less volatile four-week average jumped 13,250 to 343,250, the second straight increase.

Applications are a proxy for layoffs. Last month, they fell to nearly the lowest level in six years, as companies cut fewer jobs. But two weeks ago, they surged 64,000 to 369,000.

Economists dismissed that spike, saying it likely reflected a Thanksgiving holiday that fell later in the month. That can distort the government’s seasonal adjustments. But if the trend continues it would be a troubling sign of rising layoffs.

“We are inclined to ignore the recent claims data,” said Joseph LaVorgna, an economist at Deutsche Bank. “We see little evidence to suggest that the labor market trend of the past few months has meaningfully changed.”

Easy for him to say. He has a job.

Maybe he knows what Rush knows:

Now all of a sudden, on the heels of magnificent news on the employment front, now we’ve got this unexpected, massive in applications for part-time. The Associated Press is gob-smacked. They don’t understand it. “The number of people seeking US unemployment benefits rose 68,000 last week … the largest increase in more than a year. The surge in first-time applications could be a troubling sign,” they say, “if it lasts. But it likely reflects the difficulty adjusting for delays after the Thanksgiving holiday.”

That’s not what this is at all. You know what this is about? The Democrats are upset that the budget deal does not contain any extension for unemployment benefits. That’s all this is. I’ll lay you a dollar to a doughnut they put this number out to further the idea…

Rush said this when the budget was still in negotiation, but the issue of unemployment benefits is only just below the surface.

You think Rush needs to reline his tinfoil hat?

You need to check your memory:

In the home stretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, from August to September, the unemployment rate fell sharply — raising eyebrows from Wall Street to Washington.

The decline — from 8.1 percent in August to 7.8 percent in September — might not have been all it seemed. The numbers, according to a reliable source, were manipulated.

And the Census Bureau, which does the unemployment survey, knew it.

Just two years before the presidential election, the Census Bureau had caught an employee fabricating data that went into the unemployment report, which is one of the most closely watched measures of the economy.

And a knowledgeable source says the deception went beyond that one employee — that it escalated at the time President Obama was seeking reelection in 2012 and continues today.

“He’s not the only one,” said the source, who asked to remain anonymous for now but is willing to talk with the Labor Department and Congress if asked.

The Census employee caught faking the results is Julius Buckmon, according to confidential Census documents obtained by The Post. Buckmon told me in an interview this past weekend that he was told to make up information by higher-ups at Census.

Hey, what do I know?

I know this: the criminal regime in the White House routinely uses government agencies to further its own nefarious ends; that they manipulate data, the press, and the low-information voter to get their way; and that they never, ever give up until they “succeed”.

Tell me where I’m wrong. We’ll see.

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Jobbed

After 4 1/2 years of “recovery”, we’ve finally had a decent jobs report. You’d think the Democrats would hoot and holler in exaltation.

You’d think wrong:

House-Senate negotiators are close to a modest budget accord to avoid another government shutdown, but suddenly the White House is introducing a last-minute demand. Five years into an economic recovery that President Obama often hails as miraculous, he wants to extend unemployment benefits one more time.

That would add some $25 billion to the deficit with no compensating economic benefit. The Administration claims that every $1 of jobless benefits creates $1.80 in economic growth, based on the notorious “multiplier” in Keynesian economic models. This is the theory that you can increase employment by paying more people not to work, and that you can take money out of the private economy by taxes or borrowing without cost. If that theory worked, the government should pay everyone not to work.

Alan Krueger, President Obama’s former chief economist, coauthored a 2008 study reviewing the amount of time that unemployed individuals in different states and countries spent looking for a new job and found, among other things, that “job search is inversely related to the generosity of unemployment benefits.” Other studies have found that laid-off workers ineligible for unemployment benefits spend more time looking for a new job than those who get checks.

Right-wing fascist.

Just like this guy:

“Public policy designed to help workers who lose their jobs can lead to structural unemployment as an unintended side effect. . . . In other countries, particularly in Europe, benefits are more generous and last longer. The drawback to this generosity is that it reduces a worker’s incentive to quickly find a new job. Generous unemployment benefits in some European countries are widely believed to be one of the main causes of ‘Eurosclerosis,’ the persistent high unemployment that affects a number of European countries.”–“Macroeconomics” by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells, second edition, 2009

Like raising the minimum wage, unemployment benefits depress employment. But good political luck with that point of view. Democrats will trade jobs for votes every day—and twice on election day.

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Good News, Bad News

First, the good news on unemployment:

There were a net 204,000 new jobs created for the month…

Good news indeed, but that’s all there is, there ain’t no more. Now, the bad news:

[T]he unemployment rate rose to 7.3 percent and households reported a huge drop in employment, the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. A separate measure that includes the underemployed and those who have quit looking also moved higher, from 13.6 percent to 13.8 percent.

The numbers easily topped economist expectations of 120,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs for the month, though it matched estimates for a slight increase in the headline jobless rate.

“I find this bizarre,” Moody’s economist Mark Zandi told CNBC. “I wouldn’t be surprised if this gets revised to some degree…down.”

Not so fast:

The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for August was revised from +193,000 to +238,000, and the change for September was revised from +148,000 to +163,000. With these revisions, employment gains in August and September combined were 60,000 higher than previously reported.

Enough with the good news. Let’s get down and dirty with the bad:

Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (7.0 percent), adult women (6.4 percent), teenagers (22.2 percent), whites (6.3 percent), blacks (13.1 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent) showed little or no change in October. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.2 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.

The number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was little changed at 4.1 million in October.

The civilian labor force was down by 720,000 in October. The labor force participation rate fell by 0.4 percentage point to 62.8 percent over the month. Total employment as measured by the household survey fell by 735,000 over the month and the employment-population ratio declined by 0.3 percentage point to 58.3 percent.

Those are wretched, awful, terrible numbers—completely at odds with the notion of robust job creation.

Let me draw you a picture:

Untitled

See that little upward blip around January 2010? That’s the “recovery” kicking in. The economy started growing again in June ’09; jobs, a lagging indicator, followed six months later.

And then what happened?

Let me draw you another picture:

Untitled

Lindsay Vonn couldn’t handle that slope!

One last picture:

Untitled

I ask you: what has this president done right with the economy?

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Barack “Heartless Bastard” Obama

Strong, maybe. But how else would you describe someone who takes money away from “folks”?

Starting Friday, Joyce Lewis and her family will lose $44 from their monthly food stamp benefits.

The food stamps buy a lot of economical rice-based meals for the family — four adults and a grandson who live with Lewis in Spring Hill, Florida.

Occasionally, when her grocery store is running a deal, Lewis indulges the family with spare ribs or chicken.

The benefit — totaling $800 for four adults — never lasts Lewis and her family a full month.

“When I get to the end, we always run out. I try to go to all the food pantries,” Lewis said.

Food stamp benefits will be trimmed by $5 billion starting Friday, when a temporary bump-up enacted during the recession expires. Millions of families will be affected.

What about that free money he once gave away in Detroit from his “stash”?

But you may have noticed something hidden in the language. It’s not a cut; it’s an end to a increase (a “temporary bump-up”). This was all part of Obama’s “stimulus” package. Nancy Pelosi and Obama defended these payoffs as job-creators. Hey, someone’s gotta stock those packages of Doritos and Slim Jims.

Do I sound heartless myself? If the shoe fits… But at least I never promised you could keep your doctor. And I would just ask those receiving these benefits: how you liking your recovery? We’re into our fifth year of it, but you-all know how that feels:

Enrollment in food stamps, formally known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, has soared.

Some 47.6 million people, or nearly 15% of the population, get them, according to September federal data. That compares to 26.3 million, or 8.7% of the population, in 2007.

If the extra few bucks are job-creators, why doesn’t Ms. Lewis have one? Why is she still on food stamps, and why are there now two of her for every one there used to be?

Forty-seven million people get food stamps; 93,000,000 may lose their health insurance plans. You know what Stalin called people like that? A statistic.

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Ninety Million Unemployed Americans on the Dole…

Ninety million unemployed Americans.
If one of those Americans should jump in front of a train,
89,999,999 unemployed Americans on the dole!

Maybe the Bureau of Labor Statistics should have skipped a month because the belated September jobs report it issued Tuesday after the government shutdown wasn’t worth the wait.

Payrolls rose a humdrum 148,000 in September, the unemployment rate fell a tick to 7.2%, and wages were up slightly. But once again the number that stands out is the 136,000 Americans in September (following the 516,000 in August) who joined those “not in the labor force.” The labor force participation rate stayed at its lowest level since the 1970s at 63.2%.

The U.S. now has 90.6 million “non-institutionalized” men and women over the age of 16 not working—an all-time high. That’s 10 million above the 80.5 million when President Obama took office. With total employment at 144.3 million, for every three Americans over the age of 16 earning a paycheck there are two who aren’t even looking for a job. That’s an ugly portent for American prosperity.

So not only is the entire population of Vietnam not working, under President Ohoover, that number has increased by the population of Bolivia (third world associations very much intended). This way Haiti lies.

It doesn’t have to be this way:

To get more private jobs requires faster economic growth, and the Obama Administration could do worse than listen to those who do most of the hiring in America. According to the National Federation of Independent Business, two big concerns are regulation and ObamaCare.

“Consumers and small business owners are pessimistic,” concludes NFIB from its latest survey. They aren’t “expecting a ‘crash’ in the economy, just accepting the notion that growth is going to be sub-par and that their government is likely to continue in dysfunctional mode.” Q.E.D.

But then again—in a random (certainly unintentional) act of journalism from CNN—maybe it does have to be this way:

Less than 78% of people aged 20 to 34 either have jobs or are looking for work, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s down from the peak of 83% in 2000, and the lowest since the 1970s.

The biggest thing keeping young people out of work is the weak economy.

Recessions are particularly hard on the young, with last-in, first-out policies at many organizations and a preference at firms to freeze hiring before they start laying off employees, which hurts recent grads.

But there are other reasons as well — what economists call “structural changes” — that could mean a permanent shift in workplace demographics.

But wait. Didn’t the Grecession (my abbreviation of the Great Recession) end in June 2009? (Hint: it did.)

Seventeen quarters of economic growth equals ten million more unemployed? In what field of math does that make sense? (Hint: Obamath. Fuzzy Obamath.) Sic transit gloria Americana.

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