The Hindery Memo on Jobs: The Real Unemployment Picture Shows US Economy Short 20 Million Jobs

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leo hindery and steve clemons.jpg
While growing up on US military bases, one of the perennial radio personalities that the Department of Defense would transmit to us wayward DoD dependents was Paul Harvey and his show, The Rest of the Story. I liked the set up of the program — always showing his captive audience that there was more to things than what the government or some corporation was spinning.
America’s unemployment statistics have their own Paul Harvey — but his name is Leo Hindery.
Every month, media business executive and former Obama for President finance committee member Leo Hindery puts out a very detailed memo breaking out the national unemployment data — showing what is real and what is not regarding the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ monthly release of jobs data.
One of the chief data abuses that Hindery has focused an enormous, hot, raging spotlight on is the giant gap between official unemployment (now pegged at 8.8% of the population) and “real unemployment” which Hindery documents at 17.7% of the population.
Hindery points out that the US economy is 20.2 million jobs short of what it needs for full employment.
In his figures, Hindery accounts for “discouraged workers” who just stop trying to get new jobs and those who are “under-employed”, i.e., partially but not completely employed.
I’ve read these memos every month and try to post them when I can. Hindery has changed the national discourse with this framing of unemployment — and more and more national economic and political commentators are using his term of real unemployment. Even today when I was listening to the Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio, one of the commentators made the point that the government data wasn’t only a function of workers who were discouraged falling off the radar screen but actually there was some real hiring and adding of people to payrolls.
This is the Leo Hindery effect, and I applaud him and his team for working so hard to distribute these figures every month.
So here is the Leo Hindery Report on US Real Unemployment for March 2011:

Friends,
The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), using its Current Population Survey of non-farm jobs, announced this morning that in March 2011 “U.S. employers increased non-farm payrolls by 216,000 jobs, including 230,000 private sector jobs added in the month versus an adjusted upward 240,000 increase in February. The ‘official’ unemployment rate edged down to 8.8% from 8.9%.”
The consensus expectation was for 195,000 new private sector jobs, versus the 230,000 that were announced. The BLS also identified 13.5 million unemployed workers.
The monthly BLS announcement regarding unemployment, however, as we note each month:
1. Uses only a “survey of households” rather than much more accurate payroll data;
2. Excludes changes in employment among the nation’s 11.0 million farm and self-employed workers; and
3. Most important, does not take into account the 14.7 million workers who are:

i. “part-time-of-necessity” (i.e., underemployed) because their hours have been cut back or they are unable to find a full-time job (8.4 million);
ii. “marginally attached” to the labor force because while wanting a job, they have not searched for one in the past four weeks because of availability, skill or personal reasons (2.4 million); or
iii. “discouraged” and who have removed themselves from the labor force although they “currently want a job” (3.8 million).

Our Summary of U.S. Real Unemployment [attachment 1] makes these three adjustments. It also identifies average weeks unemployed, job openings, and the all-important “Jobs Gap” that needs to be filled in order to be at full employment in real terms. With the three adjustments made, in March:

Comments

29 comments on “The Hindery Memo on Jobs: The Real Unemployment Picture Shows US Economy Short 20 Million Jobs

  1. Paul Norheim says:

    “Christo goes nuclear…”
    That elliptic expression is an apt form of art criticism, Questions, showing that you’re a true New Yorker!

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    Christo goes nuclear:
    “The government has asked Tokyo Electric Power Co., operator of the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, to study the possibility of containing radioactive substances from four damaged reactors by wrapping their entire containment buildings with a huge amount of sheeting, government sources said Sunday.
    The proposal calls for building framed structures around the 45-meter-high containment buildings and then wrapping them with the sheeting, the sources said. ”
    AND,
    They’re dyeing the water to track the leaks — wish I had thought of this…. Hope it works. Hope they can patch the cracks, sop up the water, dump it in a salt cavern somewhere, seal it up for eons….
    And fix the politics to deal with the seriousness of nuclear power.
    In the mean time, invest in LED lightbulbs (Phillips makes a plug-ugly half yellow half white ungodly creation that is available only at Home Despot — it provides good bright light, is dimmable, sips electricity and is only 45 bucks, and it really is ugly), and unplug everything when it’s not in use. Give up on the flat panel TVs. They drink electricity. Use floor fans to move your air conditioned air around. And turn the thermostat a couple of degrees less comfortable than you want it.
    Massive conservation can make it less necessary to build new power plants. That’s something, at least.

    Reply

  3. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Eat them?”
    Donate them to Israel, so they can grind them up and feed them to the Palestinians. I mean hey, after all, no sense in getting all moral and ethical just because we’re in the midst of a nuclear disaster. We might as well stay in character, and make the most of the situation.
    We have become quite proficient at advancing political objectives on the suffering of Muslims. Lets keep up the good work, eh, Barack?
    Besides, what good are programs like Stuxnet if they doesn’t pay real dividends?

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    And this gives me an idea:
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/82903.html
    “The health ministry said Sunday it has detected radioactive substances higher than the legal limits in mushrooms sampled Friday in Iwaki, Fukushima Prefecture, where the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant is located.
    The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said it found the mushrooms to contain 3,100 becquerels of radioactive iodine and 890 becquerels of radioactive cesium against the limits of 2,000 becquerels and 500 becquerels.”
    Plant mushrooms over all the contaminated land. Let the mushrooms, in diaper like fashion, absorb all the radioactive shit in the ground, and then feed the mushrooms to a reactor core. Or something. Maybe put them on a barge in the middle of an ocean. Eat them? Use them for medical imaging? At least there’d be less contamination in the ground.
    It calls for a moss-covered, three handled, family gredunza. Or maybe a VOOM. To clean it up.

    Reply

  5. questions says:

    Sunday morning and:
    Great movie:
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/source-code-director-goes-to-sciences-cutting-edge–and-a-bit-beyond/2011/03/21/AF0LQfGC_story.html?hpid=z11
    *******
    Japan is using diapers to soak up water! Like, seriously.
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/04/82882.html
    ****
    Predictions it’ll take months to stop the radiation leaks. (also from Kyodo)
    The floating island thing seems like a serious proposal. What the hell does anyone do with some 14 tons of contaminated water? Well, you could dump it into a US waterway already polluted by mining tailings or by cut and fill operations. Or maybe they could bottle it and just give, like, a quart or a gallon, to everyone person on earth. Distribute the risk to us all! And if they were to use a Tropicana OJ container, each half gal would only be 59 ounces!
    We could then each be tasked with entombing just a little waste. Call a local contractor and have someone come out and mix together some patching cement in the backyard and have a little entombment ceremony for your jug of Fuku-water.
    ****
    WaPo has a piece up on how SAFE nukes are. Depends on how you measure and count death. The “only 57 people died from Chernobyl” is an oversimplification of the damage. But we should never undersimplify fossil fuels.
    There’s a real political decision to be made here about what kinds of deaths are tolerable.
    Clearly we like 37,000 car-related deaths in a year, and we don’t like cracked fuselages in our jet planes.
    We don’t mind emphysema from smoking, from pollution, from factories and coal plants. We don’t like glowing in the dark, though!
    We don’t mind dying from being fat and underexercised, from dental problems, from alcohol, from other self-care issues. But we do seem to hate other kinds of deaths.
    And we love death from lack of health insurance!!
    There’s a whole psychology and taxonomy of death preferences to be done here.
    ******
    Mark Thoma has an fascinating piece up from the Boston Globe on creating market mechanisms where there’s no price information (matching med students to residencies, kidney donors to kidneys, and school children to schools) — the piece suggests that economists should start doing WORK in the world to fix things rather than simply sitting on the sidelines describing the market failures.
    It’s an interesting direction for those schooled in game theory, computer coding, and real world struggles to put information and selection preferences together to get non-paying people into the places they’d like to be.
    It’d be nice to see this kind of thinking broadened beyond the non-paying, as paying is itself sometimes a market failure. Being forced to pay more than you “want” for something you desperately need isn’t necessarily quite as voluntary and wonderful and expressive of true preferences as one might think.
    (See The Matchmaker, by Leon Neyfakh, over at the Boston Globe. Sorry no link. 2 per post is site limit.)
    *****
    Elections Tues in Wisc. for Supreme Court. Prosser should lose. Here’s hoping.
    The overreaching crazed Republicans should do the following:
    Shut down the US gov’t and piss off 85% of the population to make 51% of the Republican primary voters happy!
    Take away any and all support that makes life bearable for 57% of the population.
    Piss off nearly every Latino in the country.
    Recruit some of THE most idiotic candidates for pres around, and give them all slots on Fox where they can wave their birth certificates, decry non/intervention (by turns), complain about how poor they are with 6-figure salaries and then try to pull the tapes, make up words and historical facts, come out with incredibly bigoted and obnoxious statements.
    All of this to make the 57% of primary voters happy, while pissing off 85% of the country.
    (I made up every single number in the above, by the way!)
    Go ‘Pubs!
    *****
    And don’t forget to remove the HuffPo link from your favorites until AOLianna comes out with some kind of token pay for the writers who are on strike.

    Reply

  6. DakotabornKansan says:
  7. questions says:

    Brad DeLong on the employment to population ratio (unchanged for a long time), the lack of a return to an equilibrium in which those who would prefer to work actually have work to do:
    “The share of American adults with jobs today at 58.4% is actually less than the 58.5% of Americans who had jobs when the unemployment rate kissed 10%.”…….
    “Most of them are occupied, but occupied doing things that they value less than having a job and earning the money. If you think, as I do, that the employment population ratio is probably a better guide to the health of the labor market and to the extent at which the American economy is working up to its economic potential, we have not seen any improvement in the labor market over the past 15 odd months. The labor market is still as bad as it was back then.
    This is quite distressing to me along three dimensions: ……”
    “It might not fix itself as quickly as we would wish. We might well want to have the helping hand of the government pushing it back to equilibrium. But the idea is that a period of high unemployment with lots of people who want jobs and could do jobs and do not have jobs not fixing itself–that a period of fifteen months after the downturn ends with no sign of any return toward equilibrium in the labor market–that is very distressing for us neoclassical economists. That calls for some rethinking of our visualization of the Cosmic All…”
    http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/04/aside-on-labor-utilization-from-the-march-17-2011-ias-107-lecture.html
    ******
    Rethinking, indeed.
    Here are some possible reasons that people who want, and can do, jobs, simply cannot find jobs:
    People in general have discovered that they can live with less stuff and fewer services and so the level of consumption-supported labor is simply not going to climb back up. Not, at least, til we’re back in party mode and the hangovers are long forgotten.
    People are afraid to begin spending, and thus creating demand, because of general economic/psychological malaise and distrust after the crash. (Debt doesn’t help, either.)
    The kinds of things we most often spend huge sums of consumption on are tied to housing — furniture, game systems and electronics, household help, yard-things, transportation-related things, home decor things, and all the appliances and fixtures and hardware and roofing/repairing things — all of this kind of stuff is related to the housing market. We don’t seem to have a housing market right about now.
    There is a report out there somewhere about a very low birth rate. We spend huge amounts of money on babies — from all the STUFF to all the services — babies are a big part of the economy (perhaps — I don’t have numbers). If we don’t have babies, we don’t spend the money on them.
    Related to this, I wonder how much life cycle spending there is — we might simply have a large population bulge in a point in life where spending decreases, and the housing bubble/Great Recession was simply an excuse to get with a new program of less spending in general. Death looms for Boomers, and they have legacy concerns for their grandchildren, and they might no longer want all the shit they were buying a couple of years ago.
    Tax flows to state and local governments are way down, which means another chunk of the economy isn’t flowing.
    There’s money at the top that’s staying at the top and not recirculating. When it recirculates at all, it seems to be going to M&As and thus to firing more workers and lowering demand and funneling the money back up again.
    Much of what we spend money on doesn’t flow through a lot of people anymore. Warehouses and internet sales, big box stores with few, and generally low-paid, workers, and the telecom and entertainment industries use fewer workers than they used to. We get music with no clerks involved, we make phone calls without operators or 411 information, we buy groceries without checkers, we get gas and cash without people involved, we communicate without the postal service…. Much of what we do is untouched by human hands.
    I wonder if the fact that we have long had economically dispossessed people who simply can’t get a toe-hold on the economy also makes things worse. Their demand has been held down below any kind of reasonable point, and even now cannot help. There are simply a lot of people without the wherewithal to create demand that would create a reason for money to flow in the form of wages.
    It is possible that the “best” ways to make money right now are generally simply not related to hiring people en masse. The financial industry doesn’t need large numbers of generic workers, so there’s no job-machine for a huge segment of the economy (in terms of dollars flowing through.) In fact, the best ways to make money right now seem related to firing people, instead.
    There’s econ theory that says when jobs go away they come back in some new form because tasks are infinite, not finite.
    I suppose we’ll see if this is the case.
    Structure, meet cycle. Cycle, meet structure.
    I get the feeling that Brad DeLong is rethinking precisely this point.
    *****
    And kos reports a strike at Huff Po — unpaid writers are unhappy at the unpaid status thing, esp. after the BIG SALE of the site. Lots of money changed hands and none of it went to content providers. It’s a funny world that way. I have moved the bookmark off the top of my list and it’s now visible only through scrolling — I never scroll down, though.

    Reply

  8. Don Bacon says:

    B-1. Employees on nonfarm payrolls by major industry sector, 1961 to date
    (In thousands)
    2000…… 131,785
    2001…… 131,826
    2002…… 130,341
    2003…… 129,999
    2004…… 131,435
    2005…… 133,703
    2006…… 136,086
    2007…… 137,598
    2008…… 136,790
    2009…… 130,807
    2010…… 129,818
    ftp://ftp.bls.gov/pub/suppl/empsit.ceseeb1.txt
    The nonfarm payroll count has dropped by about two million in the last decade while the population has increased.

    Reply

  9. barkleyg says:

    REAL SIMPLE STARTING POINT !
    When Clinton was President, and PRODUCED 24 Million new jobs(250k jobs a month, EVERY month, on average), he stated that there were 125,000 new jobs NEEDED every month for the NEW workers (age, students, graduates,etc)!
    This is a base figure that was good probably in 1994. How much has population grown, extrapolate to 2010, and that is how many NEW jobs are needed to stay even for just new entries.
    HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE NOT COUNTED AS UNEMPLOYED because they NEVER GOT THAT FIRST JOB to be UNEMPLOYED FROM ???

    Reply

  10. DakotabornKansan says:

    Republicans, by slashing government spending and employment, will actually create jobs. Or, so they say. And also create misery for countless disabled American citizens.
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-scott-cuts-disabled-20110331,0,7724142.story
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/rick-scott-slashes-funds-disabled

    Reply

  11. DakotabornKansan says:

    Republicans, by slashing government spending and employment, will actually create jobs. Or, so they say. And also create misery for countless disabled American citizens.
    http://www.orlandosentinel.com/features/os-scott-cuts-disabled-20110331,0,7724142.story
    http://motherjones.com/mojo/2011/04/rick-scott-slashes-funds-disabled

    Reply

  12. rc says:

    ‘Ring, ring’, … ‘ring, ring’, ….
    W/House: Hello?
    W/Note: Barry, Steve here, we’ve got 800 civilians die’n in Ivory Coast ethnic violence!
    W/House: Ivory Coast? … where the #@*!’s that?
    W/Note: West Africa.
    W/House: Oil?
    W/N: Nope!
    W/House: ‘click’….
    W/Note: Barry? … Barry? ….B-A-R-R-Y!!!
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-12944669

    Reply

  13. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Ok. Libya, the economy, dildos, 3D TV, and Sheen.
    Now, presenting what they DON’T want you to be talking about….
    http://www.mysinchew.com/node/55512
    Fukushima ‘much bigger than Chernobyl’: expert
    Japan devastated Foreign 2011-04-02 11:41
    By Karin Zeitvogel
    WASHINGTON, April 2, 2011 (AFP) – Japan’s unfolding nuclear disaster is “much bigger than Chernobyl” and could rewrite the international scale used to measure the severity of atomic accidents, a Russian expert said here Friday.
    “Chernobyl was a dirty bomb explosion. The next dirty bomb is Fukushima and it will cost much more” in economic and human terms, said Natalia Mironova, a thermodynamic engineer who became a leading anti-nuclear activist in Russia in the wake of the accident at the Soviet-built reactor in Ukraine in 1986.
    “Fukushima is much bigger than Chernobyl,” she said, adding that the Japanese nuclear crisis was likely to eclipse Chernobyl on the seven-point scale used to rate nuclear disasters.
    A 2005 report by UN bodies including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called Chernobyl “the most severe in the history of the nuclear power industry” and ranked it a seven on the International Nuclear Event Scale (INES).
    But the nuclear crisis in Japan, which was triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami three weeks ago, could be “even higher” on the INES scale, said Mironova.
    “Chernobyl was level seven and it had only one reactor and lasted only two weeks. We have now three weeks (at Fukushima) and we have four reactors which we know are in very dangerous situations,” she warned.
    Japan’s nuclear safety agency has maintained its rating of the Fukushima accident at four — the lowest level at which INES considers a nuclear “event” to be an accident — while a French watchdog has upgraded it to six.
    Chernobyl’s death toll, meanwhile, is hotly debated.
    The 2005 UN report on Chernobyl said only about 1,000 people received high doses of radiation immediately after the accident and 134 emergency workers died in the year following the disaster of acute radiation sickness.
    Nearly 20 years after Chernobyl, thyroid cancer had spiked in people who were children at the time of the accident, and “a large fraction” of those cancers were likely due to eating foods contaminated with radioactive iodine after the disaster, the report said.
    But the UN report said Chernobyl might be responsible in the long term for “up to several thousand fatal cancers,” dismissing as “highly exaggerated” claims that “tens or even hundreds of thousands of persons have died as a result of the accident.”
    A report released in 2006 by the environmental group Greenpeace said 60,000 people had died in Russia “because of the Chernobyl accident”, which would also cause “nearly 100,000 fatal cancers.”
    Mironova said Chernobyl would likely impact the health of 600 million people around the world over the long-term, or nearly nine times more than were killed in World Wars I and II.
    She cited a study which found that, by 2015, the nuclear accident will have cost the world $9 trillion.
    Mironova is touring the United States with fellow anti-nuclear activists Natalia Manzurova, who developed thyroid cancer after working as a “liquidator” at Chernobyl, and Tatiana Muchamedyarova.
    Their visit was originally planned to mark the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl meltdown on April 26, 1986, but they rewrote their presentations after the Fukushima nuclear crisis began.
    Manzurova said Chernobyl and Fukushima showed that nuclear accidents “impact the whole world,” not just the country where they occur.
    Radioactivity from Chernobyl contaminated 77,000 square miles (199,429 square kilometers) of land in Europe and the former Soviet Union, creating “long-term challenges for flora, fauna, water, the environment and human health,” former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev wrote in the March issue of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.
    Radiation from Fukushima has been reported in the air, seawater and food, and on Friday the government said groundwater has been found to be contaminated with radioactive fallout.
    On a screen behind Mironova, a Meteo France computer model showed how radioactive particles have been dispersed from the crippled Fukushima plant in northeastern Japan since the March 11 quake and tsunami.
    A radioactive cloud hit the Korean peninsula and Siberia within days of the quake and swirled across the Pacific Ocean to reach the United States and Canada a week after the disaster.
    By Friday, the cloud completely covered the northern hemisphere.
    “If we did not learn from Chernobyl, we need to use Fukushima to make a real turning point” and move away from nuclear energy, Mironova said.

    Reply

  14. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I live in a relatively small community that is mainly serviced by mom and pop stores. So what are our civic minded community leaders in the process of doing, to get us through these lean times??? Why, okaying the plans to erect a Wal-Mart in our community, of course.
    Sheer fuckin’ genius, isn’t it? Three years ago they gifted the two small mom and pop hardware/lumberyard stores with a brand new Home Depot. Not hard to figure out what the end of THAT story was, eh?
    But hey, we’ll get “jobs”, won’t we? I mean golly, what community isn’t proud to have a bunch of minimum wage clerks and stock boys keeping the shelves neatly arranged with shitty chinese products built and sewn by little oriental kiddie slaves makin’ 3 or 4 dollars a day??
    Welcome to rural America.

    Reply

  15. Dan Kervick says:

    “As a consequence, sleazy Republicans and corrupt Democrats want to reduce costs some other way. And what would that way be? Reduce wages and benefits, cut taxes, and eliminate regulations to the point where America business can compete globally again.”
    This is right, JohnH. The recently released Republican economic plan is shockingly frank about all this. Their diagnosis of what ails the United States is that the bottom half of America is *too rich* – this despite the fact that real wages for that half of the population have been utterly stagnant for decades. That Republicans accept this diagnosis is the only inference one can draw from the fact that the key Republican idea is to slash government spending and labor protections so as to make even more people unemployed and insecure, and drive them all back into the already-glutted labor market. There the increased competition among labor for scarce jobs will further drive down wages – i.e. “labor costs”. This will increase the competitiveness of American business abroad on the backs of immiserated American workers.
    If the plan recommended short-term pain for *everyone*, it would be at least worth debating, But it’s clear that the Republicans believe that only the poor, and the blue collar and white collar middle class, are to blame for our problems – because they are the only ones being asked to take another haircut. Meanwhile, financial services executives who are pulling down millions and even billions can get away with threatening to respond to any increased regulatory costs by hiking ATM fees rather than reducing their own disgusting salaries. And our President meekly goes along with this and asks, “How much higher do you want me to jump next time, Mr. Banker sir.”
    These austerity measures are also being applied in Europe. But the whole business is an ultimately self-destructive begger-thy-neighbor prisoner’s dilemma, and the British version of the austerity experiment is already failing catastrophically. I guess it was only to be expected that the cannibalistic financial barons who own our world would eventually apply Washington Consensus-style austerity restructuring to their *own societies*. When you can’t accumulate capital by preying for rents on expanding capital markets abroad, you have to turn to those around you and suck as much blood as you can from the most vulnerable passengers on your own sinking ship.
    Throughout Europe and North America, we are seeing the same phenomenon – a brutal and stunningly open class war of owners against workers. Those who possess material or financial assets of any kind are desperately and ruthlessly seizing control of their governments to protect both the value of their assets and the inviolability of their property rights, and are depositing all of the pain on those whose chief source of value and access to the goods and services produced in their countries consists mainly in the work they are able to provide.
    Anything that would apply the pain of restructuring to the ownership class is out: Restructuring mortgages and household debt? Out. Restricting the financial services sector from blowing up additional fraudulent bubbles and extracting exorbitant rents through Ponzi and speculative fiance? Out. Government full employment programs and state budget rescue programs funded from the obscene abundance of the richest people in the United States? Out. Both Republicans and the White House are desperate to prevent any investigations into mortgage fraud, financial services fraud and repossession fraud. Anything which would cause a devaluation of the overpriced material assets of the wealthy, or a redistributive flow of wealth from them to everyone else, is off the table, while millions of ordinary Americans are seeing their entire *lives* devalued.
    Barack Obama is apparently on board with all this. He helped set the table by appointing a phony “deficit commission” chaired by the most far-right Democrat he could get, along with a looney-tunes Republican cowboy. And following the November election he couldn’t run fast enough into the arms of the Chamber of Commerce, the CEOs of corporate behemoths and the barons of the financial service industry. His State of the Union speech threw the unemployed under the bus and touted a “prosperity is just around the corner” message. Just today he was out painting lipstick on the grotesque unemployment pig he has raised and fattened with the jobless.
    Obama is “leaning to the green” with a vengeance and has contracted out his re-election to the top tier of wealthy owners. He is an insecure and obsequious mediocrity who is pathetically impressed by the trappings of power and wealth, end ever-eager to please and impress his social superiors. He is a traitor to working Americans and the struggling middle class. He is turning out to be just egregiously awful – Hoover II.

    Reply

  16. Don Bacon says:

    fair and balanced — news report (LA Times):
    The nation’s job-creation engine revved up last month and pushed the unemployment rate to its lowest level in two years, spreading optimism that the economic recovery is firmly in place and giving President Obama a political boost.(end)
    Is there one word in this news report that is true?
    Anyone feel the spreading optimism?
    In other news, all the wars are going well.

    Reply

  17. Don Bacon says:

    I never did understand currency valuation issues. They say money talks and to me it says “goodbye.” While I defer to those who do understand it, I personally doubt that the good old days will ever return to the USA irregardless of currency evaluation or devaluation.
    There are so many problems in this country that others don’t have. I recently spent three weeks in India. I remember watching women in their saris hurry down the country road in the morning with their lunch pails in their hands, not wanting to be late for their two-dollar-a-day jobs picking tea.
    So many Americans refuse to even walk, never mind run, and they would never work for low wages, and instead turn to government.
    So I look at the fundamentals, not the technicals.

    Reply

  18. JohnH says:

    Exactly, the jobs aren’t there. Most countries that go through a major devaluation had an industrial base that became increasingly underutilized as their currency rose. And so, when the devaluation hit, they were ready to start producing again.
    In the case of the United States, the currency has been overvalued for a decade, if not more. Expertise was allowed to atrophy as the economy got hollowed out. Neither a devaluation nor agonizingly slow, forced wage reduction will bring back the jobs, because people have forgotten how to do them.
    For a long time, jobs created by US innovation could keep pace somewhat with jobs lost via off-shoring. Now whatever innovation there is goes directly overseas without creating production jobs in the US first.
    While Hindery’s highlighting the problem is refreshing, since so few other elites are doing anything, real change is going to require that the government stop giving away the US market to foreigners in return for their allegiance.
    More likely, however, is that a large, informal economy is in the offing–drugs, barter, odd-jobs, and petty crime. None of that will contribute to tax revenue, but at least it won’t help support that massively bloated defense budget, either.

    Reply

  19. Don Bacon says:

    We’re entering the post-industrial age and people are going to have to re-invent themselves because the jobs aren’t there, even with wage and benefit cuts.
    Meanwhile (as I suggest above) we have a government that is energetically helping U.S. corporations invest elsewhere, in locales that expect 8-10% economic growth and not 1-2%. They’re using U.S. taxpayer money (via USAID) to train foreign workers in Central Asia (e.g. Kazakhstan).
    So what Mr. Hindery is doing is almost more important than anything, because if people can’t earn a living somehow then everything suffers, and to solve it we have to know the truth which won’t come from the government.

    Reply

  20. JohnH says:

    The problem is that US costs are too high. Normal countries solve that problem via devaluation. A really painful period follows, then rapid economic growth. But the US knows that the dollar’s status as a reserve currency is critical to its power. The dollar will not be devalued to a point where many more employers can export competitively.
    As a consequence, sleezy Republicans and corrupt Democrats want to reduce costs some other way. And what would that way be? Reduce wages and benefits, cut taxes, and eliminate regulations to the point where America business can compete globally again. The irony is that the long, painful process of reducing wages and benefits will also reduce aggregate demand for the foreseeable future, preventing any serious recovery for as long as it takes to complete the process.
    A sharp devaluation of the dollar would get the agony over with quickly. But those obsessed with American power won’t accept that. And neither will the uber-rich, who pay for politicians. A devaluation would decimate their wealth, something simply inconceivable to them.

    Reply

  21. Don Bacon says:

    Jeff Immelt likes China for outsourcing jobs, but he really likes India. A lot of jobs are going to India and — surprise! — a lot of politicians are going there too.
    visits to India
    Barack Obama Nov 2010
    Jeff Immelt was there too. GE expects 30% growth there, and in an interview said that outsourcing US jobs is

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  22. Don Bacon says:

    Jan 20, 2009
    President Obama:
    The state of our economy calls for action: bold and swift. And we will act not only to create new jobs but to lay a new foundation for growth.
    Sure enough, a couple of years later Obama appointed a jobs committee headed by the GE CEO, Jeff Immelt, who has praised outsourcing.

    Reply

  23. questions says:

    One good spot of news, if it holds up — from kos, the judge in WI, Sumi, who is dealing with the union busting law has put a long term hold on it because the Republicans who need to testify are under legislative immunity until they either give it up or leave the legislature (which could be pretty soon for 5 of the 8! There are enough signatures for one of them, Kapanke, already.)
    Scott in FL is unloved. Kasich is unloved. There is some vague hope we’ll stop voting for Republicans for a while and the dems can be dems and maybe do something without austerity, without compromising the size and cost of what needs to get done.
    But that’s not til 2013 when the 2012 winners are seated. Between now and then, there’s plenty of ugly possibilities.
    Also from kos, the preemie drug that the FDA was to give orphan drug status to and allow Pharma to raise the price to 1500 bucks a dose, is now being made available at the lower price. The FDA maybe has learned a lesson about Pharma. Or maybe not…..
    Two small victories in a sea of Republicanism. And a sea of some really dumb dem proposals, too. Obama may not love dumb wars, but he does seem to love dumb education policy, dumb humane service cuts, dumb advisers, and we’ll see what’s what with dumb wars.

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  24. Don Bacon says:

    according to Mr. Hindery’s report:

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  25. Dan Kervick says:

    And yet I just saw Diane Sawyer gushing on ABC News about the exciting new jobs report. So it must be true! Prosperity is just around the corner!

    Reply

  26. Don Bacon says:

    I posted something similar recently on another site about the bogus BLS Monthly Employment Reports. Here it is:
    These employment reports never tell us much that’s worthwhile. They purport to measure employment and unemployment, not jobs, and an employee can have more than one job. There are other problems.
    Perhaps you believe (as I did) that the employment/unemployment figures in the BLS report are real numbers?
    No. The data being reported are estimates, not exact counts, taken from a monthly Census Bureau survey. A monthly survey of 60,000 occupied households is undertaken by the Bureau of the Census which is then used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to estimate the employment, unemployment, and labor force status of the entire national population.
    So the Census Bureau has workers going around to households?
    Of course not, that would provide employment. The Bureau uses robotic phone calls.
    Maybe you think that these people in the surveyed households are asked if they were employed last week or not?
    No. The respondents interviewed are never directly asked if they were “employed,” “unemployed,” “in the labor force,” or “not in the labor force” during the reference week. Rather, the respondents are asked specific questions that are then used by the chief number crunchers at the BLS to determine employment status.
    Probably the Census is getting 100% responses on their robo-calls?
    No. Like most other surveys, non-response often occurs in the Current Employment Survey conducted monthly by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In given month, imputation using reported data from previous months generally provides more efficient survey estimators than ignoring non-respondents and adjusting survey weights. However, imputation also has an effect on variance estimation: treating imputed values as reported data and applying a standard variance estimation method leads to negatively biased variance estimators.
    Did you get that — “imputation using reported data from previous months?”
    At least the computers work, right?
    No. The GAO reported last year that in February 2010 that

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