Yes, I know…more doom and gloom from your friendly neighborhood JVSWorks job numbers watch. The news should be good, no? The June job/employment numbers from the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) trumpets the addition of 195,000 new jobs. Better still, the numbers were revised upward for April and May meaning we averaged nearly 200,000 new jobs in those months as well.
So, better than expected projections…
Lots of new jobs…
Why the long face and the morose prognoses?
Let’s start with unemployment, holding steady at 7.6% which equates to 11.8 million people out of work, 4.3 million of them for more than 27 weeks qualifying them as “long-term unemployed.” We added 322,000 new involuntary part-time workers, people whose hours were cut back or who couldn’t find full-time work.
Let’s concentrate on the new jobs for a moment. As two of JVS' signature training programs are in the fields of finance (BankWork$™) and health care (HealthWorks™), it is encouraging to note that both industries saw job growth in June (20,000 for health care and 17,000 for finance).
Of course, that accounts for only 37,000 of the 195,000 new jobs. So where are the bigger numbers? Correct, in leisure and hospitality (75,000), retail (37,000) and professional and business services (53,000). The Center for Economic and Policy Research’s (CEPR'S) Dean Baker notes that more than half the new June jobs are “all low-paying sectors to which workers turn when better-paying jobs are not available.”
Federal payroll dropped by 5,000 in June and 65,000 over the past 12 months, not awful numbers given the panic over the presumed Armageddon over the sequestration cuts.
Reporting in the L.A. Times, Don Lee and Alexei Koseff say that, with the higher than expected jobs figures, the federal reserve might start pulling back on the bond-buying stimulus in the fall, although the Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that won’t happen until unemployment falls below 7%.
By far the darkest assessment of where things stand – 195,000 new jobs or otherwise – comes from Paul Krugman’s “Conscience of a Liberal” blog in the New York Times. Writing that we could be headed to a “permanent stagnation,” Krugman basically foresees a level of acceptance settling in with no possible events taking place to force policy action.
“We can probably have high unemployment and stable prices in Europe and America for a very long time — and all the wise heads will insist that it’s all structural, and nothing can be done until the public accepts drastic cuts in the safety net,” Krugman writes. “I worry that a more or less permanent depression could end up simply becoming accepted as the way things are, that we could suffer endless, gratuitous suffering, yet the political and policy elite would feel no need to change its ways.”
You can review the June BLS numbers and data here.