The facts about job growth are dire, but not that dire

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

A columnist in today’s Las Vegas newspaper gloats about being vindicated in his opinion of the lagging Obama economy by citing the findings of a liberal economist.

Wayne Allyn Root

Wayne Allyn Root

Wayne Allyn Root recounts a report by the former chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers Alan Krueger and fellow Princeton economics prof Lawrence Katz, which came out in September but was recently reported on by Breitbart. Root said the report shows “94 percent of all new job (sic) created under Obama was part-time. There were no jobs created — unless you wanted to work part-time for low wages with no health insurance. There were no real jobs … middle class jobs … high quality, high-wage jobs you could take to feed a family of four and pay a mortgage.”

Actually that report concluded, “A striking implication of these estimates is that 94 percent of the net employment growth in the U.S. economy from 2005 to 2015 appears to have occurred in alternative work arrangements.” Those alternative work jobs rose from 10.7 percent in February 2005 to 15.8 percent in late 2015.

The report defined “alternative work arrangements” as temporary help agency workers, on-call workers, contract workers, and independent contractors or freelancers. Yes, a large number of those are part-time, but by no means all.

In fact the economists’ study states, “Workers in alternative work arrangements are more than twice as likely as other workers to be classified as part-time for economic reasons (7.6 percent versus 3.3 percent).” Part-time is 35 hours a week or less.

Chart accompanying Breitbart account.

Chart accompanying Breitbart account.

The facts do appear to belie the claim made by Obama in his 2016 State of the Union address:

Let me start with the economy, and a basic fact: the United States of America, right now, has the strongest, most durable economy in the world. We’re in the middle of the longest streak of private-sector job creation in history. More than 14 million new jobs; the strongest two years of job growth since the ’90s; an unemployment rate cut in half. Our auto industry just had its best year ever. Manufacturing has created nearly 900,000 new jobs in the past six years. And we’ve done all this while cutting our deficits by almost three-quarters.
Anyone claiming that America’s economy is in decline is peddling fiction. What is true — and the reason that a lot of Americans feel anxious — is that the economy has been changing in profound ways, changes that started long before the Great Recession hit and haven’t let up.
The deficit has fallen but the debt has doubled from $10 trillion to nearly $20 trillion.
Inflation adjusted household income as of 2015 was 1.7 percent lower than in 2007 and fully  2.4 percent below the 1999 peak.
Those are the facts.




41 comments on “The facts about job growth are dire, but not that dire

  1. Steve says:

    As usual the truth is somewhere in the middle.

    During my year and a half with Checkpoint Systems, I met and worked with a lot of independent contractors.
    To a person all of them said they liked being their own boss and made more than they did working for someone else. With one exception, the extra income they made was eaten up by health insurance premiums they were forced to buy. In fact those premiums were taking up so much of their earnings they actually ended up with less money after all was said and done.
    I was also told their insurance was far cheaper before ACA.
    In short, ACA significantly raised costs for much of the people in the middle class.

    In another observation:
    Isn’t it interesting (and fitting) “Budget Reconciliation” may well be used to wipe ACA off the books?
    After all that was the process Pelosi used to jam it down our throats.

  2. deleted says:

    You know things are bad when even the Wall St. journal is bemoaning the depth of employment in this country. And wailing about how low unemployment is likely headed what with the “oppressive” regulations and taxes imposed by our “socialist” “communist” “Muslim” “half-black” “Nigerian” president and all.

  3. Rincon says:

    The average worker is twice as productive, but makes the same income as in 1970, so Steve concludes that Obamacare is to blame. Sorry to burst your bubble Steve, but the trend began sometime around 1980. If you blame Obamacare, then you need an explanation for the 32 years before its existence.

    Corporate profits have been at all time record highs throughout the Obama administration, but this article suggests that the workers are much worse off. So if the money from those record profits didn’t make it into the pockets of the workers, then in whose pockets might we find them? The conclusion is obvious, but good Conservatives deny the existence of a new Gilded Age.

  4. Steve says:

    Way to spin! Rincon….

    Not even close to what I said. The people I describe are those people the government report calls Part time under the “Contract Labor” category.
    These people are far from the “average worker” you seem to believe are the only ones that count!

    And as for “productivity” consider the labor force participation rate. With so many fewer workers, productivity HAS to be good!
    When more and more people stop looking for work the unemployment rate goes down…funny how that works, smaller pool=better percentages.
    (Also a good response to the name calling insult hound who goes by no name)

    “To chart the problem and any progress Trump might achieve over the next four years, his team has pointed to an obscure gauge called the “labor force participation rate.” This is the proportion of people who are either working or looking for work. It excludes anyone who’s stopped searching for a job.

    In the government’s monthly jobs report being released Friday, it’s a number that draws secondary billing after the unemployment rate and job creation. But beneath the sunny 4.6 percent jobless rate is the troubling shadow cast by the millions of men ages 25 to 54 who have dropped out of the workforce.

    For this group, labor force participation has sunk to 88.5 percent from a 1954 peak of 97.9 percent. Most of that loss has occurred among men who have a high school degree or less, according to a report this year by the Obama administration. (Women’s participation rate has declined less dramatically.)
    However it might be achieved, the benefits from any rise in labor force participation could be substantial, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a former director of the Congressional Budget Office and now president of the center-right American Action Forum. Increasing the participation rate would serve both the economy and individual Americans.”

    “In terms of genuinely helping things, this is the place you really want to go,” Holtz-Eakin said.

  5. deleted says:

    Corporate profits at an all time high throughout the administration of a “socialist”, “communist” “muslm” “half-black” believer in “big government” and “oppressive regulations” and “the highest corporate tax rates in the world” and “interference in the marketplace” who “chose winners and losers”?

    Who woulda thunk it?

  6. Steve says:

    Marty Nesbitt, that’s who, you fucking idiot!

  7. Rincon says:

    We have a serious disagreement of fact here, Steve. My source says the participation rate was at a record low in 1954 while yours claims a record high. “Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States increased to 62.70 percent in December from 62.60 percent in November of 2016. Labor Force Participation Rate in the United States averaged 63 percent from 1950 until 2016, reaching an all time high of 67.30 percent in January of 2000 and a record low of 58.10 percent in December of 1954.” Somebody’s reading propaganda. I confirmed mine with a second source, both of which are nonpartisan.

    We can agree though, that the productivity rise without a commensurate rise in middle class earnings began around 1980. Somehow, Obamacare makes a poor scapegoat for a 40 year trend.

  8. Rincon says:

    Another reason Obamacare makes a poor scapegoat: “More than 60 percent of Americans get health insurance through an employer. Another 16 percent use Medicare or Medicaid. There’s the VA and Tricare for the military. Only a few people buy their own insurance on what’s called the individual market. Less than 10 percent of the population gets insurance from the private plans offered on the Obamacare exchanges.”

  9. Rincon says:

    Here’s some more from the same source: “Last year, Americans spent $3.2 trillion on health care — nearly $10,000 a head. Australia spends $4,400 per capita; Canada spends $4,600. Only Luxembourg comes close to the U.S., spending $7,700 per person.

    Yet report after report finds Americans coming in dead last on various health measures compared to people in other comparable countries. Americans fare worse than citizens of other rich countries in rates of infant mortality; injury and homicide rates; drug abuse; obesity and diabetes; heart disease and lung disease.

    U.S. life expectancy ranks 31st internationally, behind Costa Rica, Chile and Cyprus but ahead of Cuba, Mexico and Russia, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It ranks 43rd out of 201 countries, according to the World Health Organization.”

    All or almost all of the countries that beat us have a single payer or nationalized system. Your capitalist theories are all wonderful, but in the real world, nationalized systems yield far better results.

  10. Steve says:

    Again, you try to change the figures.
    You want to argue the average of all.
    The figure quoted in my link is for a specific group.

    Every conclusion you reach is founded on a false premise for the example.

  11. Steve says:

    ACA effects the cost of all forms of insurance…raising the premiums on all policies because coverage is required for things the payer does not need in the plan.
    So limiting the effects of ACA to only those who signed up also leads a false conclusion.

  12. Rincon says:

    We’ll let anyone who reads this decide. Of course, that’s probably just you and me and perhaps Thomas if he checks all of these.

  13. Steve says:

    “But beneath the sunny 4.6 percent jobless rate is the troubling shadow cast by the millions of men ages 25 to 54 who have dropped out of the workforce.”

    There’s the demographic you missed Rincon.

  14. Rincon says:

    Anyone who drops out of a work force experiencing a 4.7% unemployment rate simply doesn’t want to work.

  15. Or doesn’t want to work part-time or without benefits.

  16. Steve says:

    I turned down multiple low-ball offers during my 5 month search.

  17. Rincon says:

    You’re now concerned about those who don’t want to work part time or without benefits, but don’t feel that a minimum wage is worthwhile. Is is rational to believe both? If this is your way of suggesting that the real unemployment rate is higher, then we need a standard for comparison since during the Bush administration, Conservatives didn’t seem to pay any attention to that group.

    If you turned down multiple job offers, it sounds like you never stopped seeking work and therefore would have been included in the 4.7%

  18. Steve says:

    Yup. However, had I not found my present employment, I could easily have become one more of those people who gave up looking for work.
    I experienced much of the feelings they go through. I could have made it to Social Security age and lived a subsistence lifestyle.
    That is not what anyone wants to do, but many have been afforded no other option.
    Call it the Bush recession or the Obama “recovery”, whatever you choose. Facts are facts and people need to find ways to live.
    Minimum wages are for starting jobs, not for living jobs. Just like social Security is a fall back position not a retirement plan.

  19. Rincon says:

    You really think that there’s no one working for minimum wage to make a living? Hey, I’ve got a bridge for sale. You interested?

  20. Steve says:

    Of course minimum wage workers aren’t making living on it. They all qualify for one or more welfare programs.
    Trouble is, people stop trying to improve themselves and begin to think they are “entitled” to a good life even though they did little to earn it.

    You are a small business owner….I bet you pay your own employees as little as possible and commensurate with their experience.

  21. Rincon says:

    Actually, I pay my people quite a bit better than average, but am rewarded with good employee retention and a knowledgeable and skilled staff. I understand though, that many business owners try to pay as little as feasible.

    I think we agree that welfare is damaging to motivation. That’s why I feel strongly that, although people deserve reasonable food, shelter and medical care, everyone should have to work for it. Institute Work for the Dole and there would no longer be a need for a minimum wage.

  22. Steve says:

    Isn’t that what we have now?

    What, with (as the left loves to beat them over the head with) Walmart is doing by paying their employees the way the left claims and (as the left again claims) actively encouraging their people to go apply for a welfare program or two?
    Isn’t that the same as “working for the dole”? But doesn’t it actually keep those people stuck on the dole, while “subsidizing” Walmart (and others)?

    “Free” money will always be addictive.

  23. Rincon says:

    Sorry, I thought it was obvious. I was referring to a requirement that no one gets “free” money at all, because they must work to get any money at all. They either work picking up litter, recycling, going to classes, etc. while being paid enough to keep them alive. You don’t object to letting them live, do you?

  24. Steve says:

    Not really the issue.
    On it’s face work to earn assistance seems like it would be as good an idea as a social safety net that keeps people fed and housed while looking for work.

    But that too, has all the same potential of becoming its own self fulfilling end. why seek more pay since they get all they “need” on the program.

    At some point, doesn’t the mother have to kick the kid out of the nest?

  25. Rincon says:

    Your alternative is to throw them into the deep end and let ’em drown if they can’t swim?

  26. Steve says:

    Your solution is to keep giving them fish until the day they die?

  27. Rincon says:

    If they will starve when I don’t give them fish, then yes. I don’t believe in enabling the deaths of members of my own species.

  28. Rincon says:

    I suspect under your nonsystem, unemployment benefits are out as well as welfare for those with disabilities. After all, if you deny people food and shelter, the only feasible means of survival for some would be to fraudulently have themselves declared disabled. So perhaps veterans with post traumatic stress syndrome should also be thrown out onto the streets along with the others?

  29. Steve says:

    Unemployment comes with a deadline for benefits, and someone who is fired for cause does not qualify in the first place.
    That is what I am basing my opinion on.

    Apparently under your “benefits for life” program, everyone who ever looses a job for any reason will never have to work again….I guess money does grow on trees in your world.

  30. Rincon says:

    Let’s see here. I said and I quote, “I was referring to a requirement that no one gets “free” money, because they must work to get any money at all.”, and your conclusion, in your own words is, “…under your “benefits for life” program, everyone who ever looses (sic) a job for any reason will never have to work again…”

    I’ll bet your local community college has some English classes available. You might think about signing up 🙂

  31. Steve says:

    And you said,
    “If they will starve when I don’t give them fish, then yes. I don’t believe in enabling the deaths of members of my own species.”

    petard, meet hoist.

  32. Steve says:

    And, par for the course, you choose selective bits of my words that would seem to support your false conclusions.

    By your own description, they lost employment, therefore they had been working and now are entitled to benefits for as long as they are unable to find employment.

    Hence, benefits for life.

    More hoist for your petard.

  33. Rincon says:

    Try the community college, Steve. It might be good for you.

  34. Steve says:

    The inevitable insult attack.

  35. Rincon says:

    No, I just have no real recourse for someone who refuses to abide by the rules of the English language.

  36. Steve says:

    Hey, you said,
    “If they will starve when I don’t give them fish, then yes. I don’t believe in enabling the deaths of members of my own species.”


  37. Rincon says:

    Look up the meaning of the word, if.

  38. Rincon says:

    Let me put this a simpler way. If they will starve if not given fish, are you saying you would not give them fish?

  39. Steve says:

    To reiterate.

    Unemployment comes with a deadline for benefits, and someone who is fired for cause does not qualify in the first place.

    If means you would never end fish provisioning because no one who gets things with no limit would ever stop taking.

  40. Rincon says:

    You failed to answer the question. Don’t worry. I understand.

  41. Steve says:

    That was my answer, being as you speak fluent liberal, I get you simply cannot comprehend written English.

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