The Bureau of Labor Statistics has just released the employment figures for August. As always, Democrats will gloat that the Obama economy “created” 151,000 jobs and that the unemployment rate is stable and low at 4.9 percent.
But what does an intelligent reader can get out of the data?
First, the real unemployment rate (including discouraged unemployed workers not looking for work) is really at 9.7 percent. It’s stable, but it’s still nothing to rejoice about especially for workers age 16 to 19.
Young Latinos now have a participation rate below 30 percent at 29.9 percent, nearly six percentage points lower than when President Barack Obama took office in February 2009. On their side young African Americans had a spectacular increase of nearly four percentage point to 31.6 percent. This is the first time their rate is above 30 percent since September 2008.
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African American adults too did see a good increase of their participation rate – 0.7 percentage point to 61.9 percent. Latino adults’ participation rates increased too by 0.3 percentage points to 66.1 percent. For the overall population, the rate is stable at 62.8 percent, still at a 39-year low.
Second, where the jobs were created is nothing to rejoice about. Nearly 240,000 of them were in the government sector, which usually sucks up jobs from the productive sector with its regulations and high cost. At the same time, private industries lost 250,000 jobs and the self-employed lost 40,000 jobs.
The part-time economy continues to grow with 90,000 new part-time jobs for economic reasons, mostly from a slack job market. This may explain why there are now 200,000 more multiple-job holders, representing five percent of the workforce.
Third, one can see the catastrophic private-sector figures in the industry report. The primary (mining) and secondary (manufacturing) sectors respectively lost 6,000 and 14,000 jobs. One third of the job creation (51,000) was in low-paying retail and leisure sectors; fortunately education and health, financial and professional services make up for the rest.
Finally, there are good news with respect to the duration of unemployment. Its mean decreased 0.5 week to 27.6 weeks and its median time is now 11.2 weeks, a 0.4 week decrease. This shows up in the long-term unemployment trend 15 weeks and over; it decreased 1.8 percentage points to 39.9 percent. It has officially recovered from the recession, being below 40 percent for the first time since President Obama took office.
However, very long-term unemployment over 27 weeks hasn’t recovered despite a 0.5 percentage point decrease to 26.1 percent. It is still 1.9 percentage points higher than it was in February 2009.
You could expect these figures to stay pretty much the same if Hillary Clinton stays in power. So if you want to avoid it, you know what to do.
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