May Jobs Report Shows Obama Economy Still Stalled
The President’s policies prevent economic growth
While Washington remained mired in scandal and controversy, Friday brought another dismal job report, showing that the Obama economy continues to leave millions of Americans without work.
The monthly release of unemployment statistics was a nonevent for the President and Congress. Obama was in California to meet with the president of China. A few Senators droned on about immigration reform in an empty chamber. The House was not in session.
While the nation rocks with one alarming revelation after another, unemployment flies beneath the radar. Millions of Americans continue to face the reality of struggling to raise their families and run their businesses. Washington remains silent.
This is a national disgrace. The President and Congress have abrogated their responsibility. Other than national defense, they have a primary obligation to shape circumstances that grow the economy and put people to work.
The bottom-line of the Labor Department’s unemployment report was the conclusion that not much has changed from last month, the month before, or even the last few years. Here are some highlights:
- Both the number of unemployed persons, at 11.8 million, and the unemployment rate, at 7.6 percent, were essentially unchanged in May.
- Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult men (7.2 percent), adult women (6.5 percent), teenagers (24.5 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks (13.5 percent), and Hispanics (9.1 percent) showed little or no change in May.
- In May, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was unchanged at 4.4 million. These individuals accounted for 37.3 percent of the unemployed.
- The civilian labor force rose by 420,000 to 155.7 million in May; however, the labor force participation rate was little changed at 63.4 percent. Over the year, the labor force participation rate has declined by 0.4 percent.
- In May, the number of persons employed part time for economic reasons was unchanged at 7.9 million. These individuals were working part time because their hours have been cut back or because they were unable to find a full-time job.
The economy produced 175,000 jobs last month. This is not enough. We need at least 300,000 new jobs a month to keep pace with people entering the workforce and to overcome the worst economic recovery since World War II.
Although 420,000 people joined the workforce in May, the total unemployed plus persons marginally attached to the labor force stands at 13.8 percent, down slightly from the 13.9 percent in April. Those marginally attached to the workforce are not working or looking for work, but indicated that they want a job and looked for employment in the last year. These are the idle, frustrated, and discouraged workers who often give up and leave the labor force entirely.
The President and Congress are totally without the will to find solutions to a stagnant and staggering economy. They could declare an emergency and meet full time to address the real need of the American people – a growing economy that produces jobs.
Opportunities abound for creative innovations that could jump-start the economy. One would be a spending freeze for a year. Another would be a moratorium on regulations
The President could step forward and temporarily put the brakes on Obamacare, a job killer that impedes hiring and encourages layoffs. He could approve the Keystone Pipeline.
The President and Congress like to call for “commonsense” solutions to national problems. But partisan bickering and the upcoming 2014 elections preclude action.
Meanwhile, millions of Americans cannot find work. Prospects are poor for better statistics next month and beyond. While leaders of both parties dither and argue, the economy remains stuck in the mud.
During the course of his career, Walker has worked in Chicago, Washington DC, New York City, and Phoenix. He served as a reporter in Chicago, a press secretary and speechwriter in Washington, and in numerous positions in New York in corporate and financial services communications.
Walker is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin and the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.