Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The crisis behind the jobs report...

 Heidi Moore @ The Guardian:
Friday brought a relatively good employment report. The economy added fewer jobs than economists had hoped for, but they were of good quality: most of them came from private companies, rather than the government. Construction did extremely well, as new houses are being built. Further math showed that the economy actually added more jobs than we thought it had in November and December.

It is tempting to call this a recovery. A number of economic indicators show that the economy is at least moving forward, rather than back. Housing is doing well, for instance. GDP, except for a blip late last year thanks to lower defense spending related to the fiscal cliff, shows every sign that it will continue to grow.

As much as the numbers move forward, though, there is some sadness embedded in them: we still have an joblessness crisis. And as long as the actual numbers appear to get "better", then it will not be treated like a crisis, but more like an inconvenience. For the duration of the US unemployment crisis, we have had no answers. No one is really working on any solutions to it except "wait and hope, and hope and see."

Note this glum start to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' news release today:
"The number of unemployed persons, at 12.3 million, was little changed in January."
Further down, something even more glum:
"In January, the number of long-term unemployed (those jobless for 27 weeks or more) was about unchanged at 4.7m and accounted for 38.1% of the unemployed."
Those figures tell the truth more than any other numbers do. Let's leave the jobs report behind and look at the jobs picture.