March Jobs report: economy continues to grow

Now that the lingering effects of the GOP government shutdown last fall are largely over, and the brutal winter weather in parts of the country has receded into spring, the economy is showing signs of life and is continuing to grow.

Steve Benen has the monthly jobs report in Job market continues to show signs of life:

After discouraging monthly job reports in December and January, there were broad concerns about which way the job market was headed. Would it remain stuck or start to bounce back?

The latest evidence seems to suggest the latter. In fact, the  new report from Bureau of Labor Statistics shows the U.S. economy added 192,000 jobs in March, roughly in line with economists’ expectations. The unemployment rate remained the same at 6.7%.

MarchJobs

For the second consecutive month, public-sector layoffs did not drag down the overall employment figures. Though jobs reports over the last few years have shown monthly government job losses, in March, the private sector added 192,000 while the public sector broke even. That could be a whole lot better, but at least it wasn’t a negative number.

Better yet, the job totals for both January and February were both revised up quite a bit, pointing to an additional 37,000 jobs that had been previously unreported.

All told, over the last 12 months, the U.S. economy has added over 2.24 million jobs overall and 2.26 million in the private sector. What’s more, March was the 49th consecutive month in which we’ve seen private-sector job growth.

Above you’ll find the chart I run every month, showing monthly job losses since the start of the Great Recession.

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

MarchPrivate

Of course, the GOP is still doing its best to sabotage the economic recovery and to demonize the unemployed.

On Monday, the Senate will pass an extension of federal unemployment benefits, at which point the popular bipartisan bill will immediately die at the hands of House Tea-Publicans. Cantor holds firm against unemployment bill:

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) on Friday gave every indication that the House will not consider a bill to extend emergency unemployment benefits, even if the Senate passes the bill as expected early next week.

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“It doesn’t create any jobs, and right now we are in the business of trying to see how we can get people back to work, for an America that works for more people,” he said.

Cantor noted that the idea of retroactively extending benefits that expired in late December would be unworkable, and said many state officials have made this clear to Congress. [This has been disputed.] That prompted Hoyer to ask whether Republicans could consider a prospective bill, but Cantor dismissed that idea as well.

“It is my opinion that what the gentleman asks for is a continuance of the status quo,” he said.

“We want to get people back to work. We’re in the business of job creation. We want to provide a better environment for businesses to hire people.”

Did you catch that subtlety? After three years, the Tea-Publican Congress has not passed a single jobs bill to help the unemployed (decidedly not “in the business of job creation.”) All Tea-Publicans care about is a “better environment” for the so-called “job creators,” who are sitting on top of record corporate profits. Despite the best business environment in our lifetime, the so-called “job creators” are not creating jobs, dispelling this GOP myth.

The New York Times reports today, Economy|Corporate Profits Grow and Wages Slide (see the charts accompanying the article):

monopolybCorporate profits are at their highest level in at least 85 years. Employee compensation is at the lowest level in 65 years.

The Commerce Department last week estimated that corporations earned $2.1 trillion during 2013, and paid $419 billion in corporate taxes. The after-tax profit of $1.7 trillion amounted to 10 percent of gross domestic product during the year, the first full year it has been that high. In 2012, it was 9.7 percent, itself a record.

Until 2010, the highest level of after-tax profits ever recorded was 9.1 percent, in 1929, the first year that the government began calculating the number.

Before taxes, corporate profits accounted for 12.5 percent of the total economy, tying the previous record that was set in 1942, when World War II pushed up profits for many companies. But in 1942, most of those profits were taxed away. The effective corporate tax rate was nearly 55 percent, in sharp contrast to last year’s figure of under 20 percent.

The effective rate has been below 20 percent in three of the last five years. Before 2009, the rate had not been that low since 1931.

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The Commerce Department also said total wages and salaries last year amounted to $7.1 trillion, or 42.5 percent of the entire economy. That was down from 42.6 percent in 2012 and was lower than in any year previously measured.

Including the cost of employer-paid benefits, like health insurance and pensions, as well as the employer’s share of Social Security and Medicare contributions, the total cost of compensation was $8.9 trillion, or 52.7 percent of G.D.P., down from 53 percent in 2012 and the lowest level since 1948.

So profits for corporate plutocrats, and screw everyone else — the GOP economic agenda.

One response to “March Jobs report: economy continues to grow

  1. Extended unemployment benefits are just deadly for job creation. Even liberal economists like Peter Diamond have noted the surge back into the labor force that the end of these benefits produces.

    Thats why we are seeing a little life in the economy now, its rational expectation is that these benefits are gong to end and the economy will pick up a bit, just from that.