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Don't Be Fooled by the April, 2019, Jobs Report

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  • Part 1: Don’t be fooled by the unemployment figures that came out today.
  • Millions of workers who have low paid and part time retail jobs want, need and are qualified for better paid full time jobs. The government's monthly job figures ignore these people.
  • Part 2: About that April 2019 Jobs Report
  • "Not having a job as a teenager makes it harder to land one as a young adult," Jack Wuest, the executive director of the Alternative Schools Network said.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

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Part 1: Don’t be fooled by the unemployment figures that came out today

https://www.peoplesworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/cashier970.jpgMillions of workers who have low paid and part time retail jobs want, need and are qualified for better paid full time jobs. The government's monthly job figures ignore these people. | Sarah Bentham/AP

John Wojcik <https://www.peoplesworld.org/authors/john-wojcik/>, People's World <https://www.peoplesworld.org>

May 3, 2019 | It reminded me of the movie version of 1984 where the government of Oceania keeps announcing the improving figures in the production of everything from pig iron to chocolates. Only this time it was the U.S. government this morning announcing that the ever-improving jobless rate has dropped now to 3.8 percent.



If the government continues to calculate the unemployment rate the way it does now even if every single person over the age of 16 in the United States was out of work we could, in theory, have an unemployment rate of zero percent! The rate then does not tell us much about how many able-bodied people are actually without a job.




What they did not announce was yet another in the continuing monthly drops in labor force participation. “As a result, the unemployment rate fell for the wrong reasons,” wrote Elise Gould, an economist with the Economic Policy Institute this morning. What Gould is saying is more people continue to leave the labor force every month than are finding a job every month.

https://www.peoplesworld.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/200x230JohnWojcik-200x200.jpg / John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers.

Full story …



Part 2: About that April 2019 Jobs Report

https://portside.org/sites/default/files/styles/large/public/field/image/BlackMen-ic-5-5-2019.jpg"Not having a job as a teenager makes it harder to land one as a young adult," Jack Wuest, the executive director of the Alternative Schools Network said.

Dean Baker, Sarah Karp, Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) / WBEZ / Portside


May 3, 2019 | The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the unemployment rate fell to 3.6 percent in April, the lowest level in almost 50 years. There was no change in the employment-to-population ratio (EPOP), which remained at 60.6 percent, just below its peak for the recovery. The prime age (ages 25 to 54) EPOP actually edged down to 79.7 percent, compared to a high of 79.9 percent earlier this year. The establishment survey showed the economy added 263,000 jobs, with modest upward revisions to the prior two months’ data, bringing the average rate of job growth over the last three months to 169,000.

While the drop in the unemployment rate is unambiguously good news, there are some aspects of the report that are disturbing. Most notably, black workers do not appear to be benefitting much from the continued strengthening of the labor market. Over the last year, the black unemployment rate has risen 0.2 percentage points to 6.7 percent and the white unemployment rate has dropped 0.4 percentage point to 3.1 percent. This goes against the usual pattern towards convergence with low unemployment.

Dean Baker co-founded Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) in 1999. His areas of research include housing and macroeconomics, intellectual property, Social Security, Medicare and European labor markets.

Sarah Karp covers education for WBEZ.

Full story …

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