Category Archives: Labor

October jobs rebound from effects of hurricanes

Steve Benen has the October jobs report. U.S. job market bounces back in a big way in October:

After September’s job totals, heavily affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, were the worst for the U.S. in seven years, the question on the minds of many was whether the job market would bounce back in October.

This morning, we received the answer. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 261,000 jobs last month, making it the best month for job creation so far this year. The unemployment also improved, ticking down a notch to 4.1%.

October Jobs


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President Trump sabotages ‘Obamacare,’ will blow up health care markets out of spite

President Donald Trump, who promised to repeal and replace “Obamacare” on day one in office — “it will be easy” — suffered humiliating deafeats after several failed attempts by Congress. For a man fixated on erasing any legacy of Barack Obama out of jealousy and spite, he has been stewing about ways he can sabotage “Obamacare,” and with it the health care of millions of Americans, outside of congressional action. It is purposeful, malicious and amoral.

The New York Times reports that, as I predicted, Trump has gone nuclear in House v. Price, ending the Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies (CSRs) to insurers for low income Americans. Trump to Scrap Critical Health Care Subsidies, Hitting Obamacare Again:

President Trump will scrap subsidies to health insurance companies that help pay out-of-pocket costs of low-income people, the White House said late Thursday. His plans were disclosed hours after the president ordered potentially sweeping changes in the nation’s insurance system, including sales of cheaper policies with fewer benefits and fewer protections for consumers.

The twin hits to the Affordable Care Act could unravel President Barack Obama’s signature domestic achievement, sending insurance premiums soaring and insurance companies fleeing from the health law’s online marketplaces. After Republicans failed to repeal the health law in Congress, Mr. Trump appears determined to dismantle it on his own.

Without the subsidies, insurance markets could quickly unravel. Insurers have said they will need much higher premiums and may pull out of the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act if the subsidies were cut off. Known as cost-sharing reduction payments, the subsidies were expected to total $9 billion in the coming year and nearly $100 billion in the coming decade.

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U.S. loses jobs for the first time in 7 years in September

Steve Benen has the monthly jobs report for September. U.S. lost jobs last month for the first time in 7 years:

The job numbers were worse than anyone expected. While projections showed the U.S. economy adding about 80,000 jobs in September, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy actually lost 33,000 jobs in September.

September jobs

It’s important to emphasize that these totals were heavily affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which depressed hiring. SeeHow Hurricanes Skewed September’s Job Numbers. [It’s also important to note that these numbers will be revised in future jobs reports, so the consecutive monthly gains streak could very well still be alive.] That said, the new job numbers still fell short of low expectations. What’s more, the combined job totals from July and August were revised down, and that can’t be attributed to hurricanes.

This is the first time the U.S. economy has lost jobs since September 2010 – seven years ago. It interrupts the longest streak on record of consecutive months in which the economy added jobs [This could change next month after revisions].

Here’s another chart, this one showing monthly job losses/gains in just the private sector since the start of the Great Recession.

September Private

Economist Jared Bernstein explains, Thanks to Harvey and Irma, payrolls fell last month, but underlying job market remains strong:

Payrolls contracted by 33,000 last month due to the impacts of hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The unemployment rate, which BLS tells us was not affected by the storms, fell to 4.2 percent, its lowest rate in over 16 years, and it fell for “good reasons” last month, i.e., not because discouraged workers left the labor force. In fact, the closely watched labor force participation rate rose to 63.1 percent, its highest level since March of 2014.

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First Monday in October: A preview of the Supreme Court term

The U.S. Supreme Court term begins on the first Monday in October. The Court is now at full strength with nine justices, with Neil Gorsuch having been installed by Tea-Publicans after an unconstitutional judicial blockade of over a year of President Obama’s nominee to the high court. This does not bode well for what to expect from Justice Gorsuch,who accepted the nomination under such tainted circumstances,  or from the five conservatives who now comprise the majority on the court.

Supreme Court

This portends to be another landmark year after a relatively modest term last year. The New York Times’ Supreme Court reporter Adam Liptak has a good preview of the current “hot topics” on the court’s calendar. Back at Full Strength, Supreme Court Faces a Momentous Term:

The new term is studded with major cases likely to provoke sharp conflicts. One of them, on political gerrymandering, has the potential to reshape American politics. Another may settle the question of whether businesses can turn away patrons like gay couples in the name of religious freedom.

The court will hear important workers’ rights cases, including one on employers’ power to prevent workers from banding together to sue them. Perhaps the most consequential case involves fundamental principles of privacy in an age when cellphones record our every move.

“There’s only one prediction that’s entirely safe about the upcoming term,” Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said last month at Georgetown’s law school. “It will be momentous.”

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Bruce Bartlett destroys the GOP’s ‘trickle down’ tax myth that he helped to create

I happened to catch economist and former deputy assistant to the Treasury under George H. W. Bush, Bruce Bartlett, discussing the Trump tax “plan” (actually just an outline) released on Wednesday on The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 2.14.16 PM

Bartlett had some harsh words for the faith-based supply side “trickle down” economics that got its start with Arthur Laffer under the Reagan administration, which his boss George H. W. Bush used to deride as “voodoo economics.”

(Beginning at the 10:00 minute mark)

O’Donnell: You recently wrote that “Everything Republicans now say about taxes is wrong.”

Bartlett: “Well, I think that they took a good idea of lowering marginal tax rates and doing tax reform and they simply got carried away. They started making exaggerated arguments saying these tax cuts would pay for themselves with no loss of revenue, and that’s just hogwash, that’s just a lie. And anybody who says it is a liar. And I think that the people who say it know that they’re lying. There is not a single serious study, there’s no serious study of anything by this administration or anybody on the right these days, that would back up in the slightest possible way the talking points that they continually throw out there as just propaganda.

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Ducey is a disaster for Arizona

Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, self-labels himself, for purely propaganda purposes, as “the education governor.”

The governor’s label would be a joke if his misguided policies did not come with serious and dire consequences for the actual condition of public education in Arizona.

Perhaps the governor should accept responsibility for his policies making Arizona the worst — that’s right, dead last — in public education, as the Republic’s Laurie Roberts describes. Arizona ranks as worst state to be a teacher:

Quick, what is the worst state in which to be a teacher?

If you said Arizona, give yourself a gold star.

WalletHub this week released its annual rankings for the best – and worst – states in  which to spend a career in the classroom. The financial services website compared the 50 states and Washington D.C., analyzing 21 key indicators, ranging from income growth potential to class size to safety.

The best states in which to be a teacher: New York, New Jersey, Illinois, Connecticut, Pennsylvania.

The worst: Florida, Mississippi, South Carolina, Hawaii and finally, down there in our usual spot at the bottom of the barrel, Arizona.

We ranked as one of the states with the highest turnover, the highest student-teacher ratios and the lowest spending per student.

And we ranked as dead last in the number of people expected to be competing for teacher jobs by 2024. Gee, I wonder why.

Lest you think things are looking up, two years ago Arizona ranked 49th  overall. Now, we’re 51st.

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