Friday, October 7, 2011

The BLS jobs reports

email today from Mike Gimbel:
I am watching CNN and they are almost giddy about the small increase in employment in the BLS reported data that was published this morning.  Only one problem: There is a mighty huge problem in the report, once you look more closely at the data!
The real unemployment rate has declined for two months in a row from 18.32% in July to 18.20% in August to 18.04% in September. The real unemployment + underemployment rate (those working part-time wanting full-time work) actually went in the opposite direction, going higher in each of the last two months because the increase in part-time employment went from 8,396,000 in July to 8,826,000 in August to 9,270,000 in September. The unemployed + underemployed rate actually increased, not decreased, from 23.24% in July to 23.37% in August to 23.46% in September.
When I looked at the non-seasonally adjusted data, the numbers for August and September replicate the seasonally adjusted data in terms of a positive employment improvement.
The conclusion:  Workers are becoming more and more desperate and are taking part-time jobs just to survive. As a result, my computed real unemployment rate of 18.04% is becoming much less important than the unemployment + underemployment rate.  The unemployment rate does not distinguish between the two.  It lumps part-timers in with full-timers.  If you work one-hour a week, you are listed as employed! The unemployed + underemployed is continuing to move upwards from its most recent low point in March, 2011, which was 22.59%.  Is this the third unemployment peak of this economic depression, or will it continue to trend further upwards?  We'll have to wait and see where this current rise ends. The first unemployment + underemployment peak was @24.60% in December, 2009. It then dropped to 23.36% in June, 2010, rising again to 24.15% in November, 2010.
There is absolutely no reason to celebrate the illusory increase in employment in September.  This was not a good report!  There is still no sign of an economic recovery for working people! The "normal" boom and bust cycle does not apply to this economic depression.  Yes, there are peaks and valleys in the employment picture, but the valleys are so shallow that it is almost silly to refer to them as a period of "recovery"! This economy remains dead in the water.  There is still no indication of any real recovery. That is completely in line with WWP's analysis that was made at the start of the crisis.  The capitalist system has hit a wall due to the high-tech revolution.  The capitalist class is contimuing in its suicidal destruction of its own market. The capitalists have busted unions, shipped plants overseas in order to find the lowest paid workers possible and laid off millions via the introduction of robotics and the internet. In so doing, there are fewer and fewer workers able to buy the goods made by the remaining workers which, in turn, leads to further contraction of the capitalist market. The only economic program that Wall Street is interested in is how to protect their profits, not the overall economy. The capitalists are sitting on trillions of dollars, refusing to invest in new productive capacity because they have no new customers to sell to. They have no new customers because they destroyed their market.  It is a suicidal cycle.
The economic austerity plans, in the U.S. and all over the world, is shrinking that market even further. Forcing entire countries to cutback services, layoff workers and eliminate the social support net is a formula for suicide, not economic revival.
For the working class, the conclusion is becoming clearer and clearer: Organize a militant defense of our living conditions! The time for the unity of the labor movement, the Black & Latin@ community, immigrant rights movement, the women's movement, the LGBTQ movement, the youth and the left organizations and left parties, in defense of our class, is something absolutely necessary.  The "Occupy Wall Street" demonstrations could be a portent of the beginning of the coming together of that future unity.  At least we can all hope so!
Let's organize, organize, organize so as to give a militant, working class response!  If we don't, we'll all lose.  There is no other route out from this economic crisis!
--Mike Gimbel
The stupidities and absurdities by which mathematicians have rather excused than explained their mode of procedure, which remarkably enough always lead to correct results, exceed the worst and real fantasies of the Hegelian philosophy of nature.
                                                                  --Frederick Engels

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