Friday, June 04, 2010

Consider the Truths on Jobs Numbers


A number of early news stories on the Friday labor department jobs report were reading as if written encouraged by the spin patrol. Most of the stories opened with news that the US had added 431,000 new (nonfarm) jobs this past May. At a number of media outlets, the good news was reinforced with the line, it's the "largest (job creation) gain in the monthly figure in a decade."

But, after the good news, came a dose of reality that pointed out, 411,000 of those 'new jobs' were for Temporary Census Workers. Those jobs will disappear come August.

In truth, as the Labor Department data shows, big as it is, the private sector of the entire United States only added 41,000 new jobs to payrolls this past May. That leaves the unemployment rate essentially unchanged at 9.7%, a slight drop from 9.9% in April.

Around 15 million workers are now unemployed in the United States. That's more than double the 7.7 million at the end of 2007.

As a Labor Department and National Employment Law Project report highlighted by "'s" Vicki Needham noted, the number of long-term unemployed has increased from 1.3 million at the start of the recession and has climbed to 6.8 million, making up 46 percent of all unemployed, up from 15 percent more than 2 years ago.

With all that, it was hard understand how the President and members of the administration can say the job market in the United States is “getting stronger by the day.”

The spin didn't fool the market, as U.S. stocks, already spooked by the debt of Hungary, dove to their lowest closing bell since February.

Perhaps it's even more difficult to understand why so many reporters and even respected economists initially attempted putting a positive spin on things when in fact, the nation's economy is still facing trying times. Truth and Leadership are crucial when faced with crisis of any magnitude, and even in a spin filled culture, people can smell smoke and read through mirrors.

But even more hair raising the fact that so many Americans will lose their only financial lifelines this week as extensions of unemployment insurance benefits expire after the Senate up and went home before passing an extension of benefits. Some in the Senate are warning of impending deficit crisis, which is a legitimate concern, but, in this case of humanitarian aid to fellow Americans, more debt maybe necessary. The House passed the new extension a few weeks ago, but, the Senate left the capital for its Memorial Day holiday break before taking up the issue. The Senate is meant to address the topic when it returns, June 7.

The hope is, the numbers will shrink, the lifeline will become less inflated and the nation, will witness a full recovery.

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