Tag Archives: income inequality

September jobs report well below expectations, real earnings decline

Steve Benen has the September jobs report. Job growth cooled in September, falling short of expectations:

Though there were some concerns about the effects Hurricane Florence may have had on the U.S. job market, most projections pointed to monthly job growth in September around 194,000. The initial data suggests we fell short by a significant amount.

The September results are 25 percent below what economists had forecast.

SeptemberJobs

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy added 134,000 jobs in September, while the unemployment rate dropped further to 3.7%. The 134,000 is the lowest of the year to date.

On a more encouraging note, the revisions for the two previous months – July and August – were quite good, with a combined net gain of 87,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

In terms of the larger context, this morning’s data points to 1.875 million jobs created so far in 2018, which is quite good, and which is an improvement on the totals from the first nine months of 2017 (1.53 million). It’s also roughly identical to the numbers from 2015 (1.84 million) and 2016 (1.85 million).

That said, this year’s tally is still short of the totals from the first nine months of 2014 (2.19 million).

When the White House says this is the best growth “ever,” it apparently means “since 2014.”

As for the political implications, Donald Trump has now been in office for 20 full months – February 2017 through September 2018 – and in that time, the economy has created 3.8 million jobs. In the 20 full months preceding Trump’s presidency – June 2015 to January 2017 – the economy created 4.15 million jobs.

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All that glitters is not gold: storm clouds on the economic horizon

“There is perhaps no single person or entity that has done more to sell the economy under President Trump than Fox News.” When Trump faces a negative story, Fox News pivots to the economy:

Fox routinely finds ways to spin bad, unrelated news about the economy into good, related news about the economy, often blaming the media for its focus on Trump’s scandals and ethics probes.

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Indeed, Fox has been so anxious to praise Trump for the economy, it has even admitted to deliberately giving the president positive economic coverage.

The economy is not as good as the three dolts on the divan (Fox and Friends) who provide Trump his presidential daily briefing (PDB) of Fox propaganda each morning would have you believe.

Earlier this month, the New York Times editorialized Clouds Darken Trump’s Sunny Economic View:

[T]he American economy has a lot more power than it can handle right now, and it’s making a lot of noise. So is President Trump, who takes singular credit for a robust second-quarter rise in the gross domestic product of 4.1 percent, something that hasn’t happened under any other president since … Barack Obama. While Mr. Trump praised himself effusively — he’s good at that, isn’t he? — the stock market seemed unimpressed. Friday’sannouncement that 157,000 new jobs were added in July, a modest gain or perhaps a seasonal glitch, elicited an even more subdued reaction. That’s because if you look down the line, there are few clear reasons to be so enthusiastic.

“Over all, we see this report as supportive of our views that the economy is currently firing on all cylinders,” wrote Bricklin Dwyer, a senior economist with BNP Paribas, after the new G.D.P. numbers were announced. But there was a caveat: Mr. Dwyer said that “growth is likely peaking. Indeed, in our forecasts, [the second quarter] marks a high-water mark for growth.”

For one thing, the initial jolt of the Republicans’ $1.5 trillion tax cuts, mostly for corporations and the wealthy, is wearing off. Corporations have bought back $437 billion of their own shares, which leaves them that much less to invest in new production, or wages. In fact, spending on business equipment slowed.

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July jobs report is below expectations

Steve Benen has the July jobs report. American job growth falls short of expectations in July:

Ahead of this morning’s new jobs report, most projections said the U.S. economy added roughly 190,000 jobs in July. Apparently, we didn’t do quite that well.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported this morning that the economy added 157,000 jobs in July, while the unemployment rate inched lower, going from to 4% to 3.9%. It’s the second lowest monthly jobs total of the year.

That said, the revisions for the two previous months – May and June – looked very good, with a combined gain of 59,000 jobs as compared to previous BLS reports.

JulyJobs

In terms of the larger context, this morning’s data points to 1.5 million jobs created so far in 2018, which is evidence of a healthy job market, and which is an improvement on the totals from the first seven months of 2016 and 2017. That said, this year’s tally is still short of the totals from the first seven months of 2014 and 2015.

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

JulyPrivate

The Washington Post points out that wage growth remains stagnant (so much for the GOP tax cut scam):

The U.S. economy has added jobs for 94 consecutive months, a record streak that shows no signs of waning despite President Trump’s escalating trade war. Many business leaders have warned the standoffs with China, the European Union and other major trading partners could cause layoffs if tariffs stay in place for an extended period of time.

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All that glitters is not gold in the new Gilded Age

On Friday the government said that the economy grew at a 4.1 percent annual rate last quarter.

Naturally our egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief, who always speaks in exaggerated superlatives, tried to claim that this was the biggest, bestest, greatest economic achievement by any president ever in the history of the world!

Not even close, dumbass. Fact check: Mr. Trump cited a long list of indicators of how well the economy has performed on his watch, some lacking context or foundation. Barack Obama had three quarters besting Trump’s best quarter.

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Economists caution that the latest acceleration, while good news for American businesses and households in the short term, is unsustainable in the long term and could raise the risk that the recovery will flame out in the years ahead.

The quarter’s figures were pumped up by a range of one-time factors — including a surge in exports tied, at least in part, to Mr. Trump’s trade policies, as foreign buyers rushed to stock up on American goods before tariffs took effect — that are unlikely to recur. Most forecasters expect growth to cool in the second half of the year — even without factoring in the possibility of a trade war, which corporate executives in recent weeks have cited as a source of uncertainty that could force them to pare hiring and investment plans.

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The Roberts Court: a new Gilded Age and a return to the long-discredited Lochner Era

Jedediah Purdy, professor of law at Duke, recently wrote at the New York Times, The Roberts Court Protects the Powerful for a New Gilded Age:

Faith in courts runs deep in the American liberal imagination. Remembering Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade and the recent marriage-equality decisions, we keep hoping that wise and fair-minded judges will protect the vulnerable and lead the country toward justice.

Recent decisions upholding President Trump’s travel ban and Texas’ racially skewed voting districts are body blows to this optimism. They are unhappy reminders that for much of American history, the Supreme Court has been a deeply conservative institution, preserving racial hierarchy and the prerogatives of employers.

When it comes to economic inequality, today’s Supreme Court is not only failing to help but is also aggressively making itself part of the problem in a time when inequality and insecurity are damaging the country and endangering our democracy.

Under Chief Justice John Roberts, the court has consistently issued bold, partisan decisions that have been terrible for working people. Janus v. American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, was one of them.

Just hours after that decision, Justice Anthony Kennedy announced his retirement. With this “swing” vote gone, Chief Justice Roberts is now likely to take even more control over the direction of issues related to economic inequality — a direction that is earning him a legacy as chief justice of bosses, not workers.

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