America’s Dismal August Jobs Report
by Stephen Lendman
Headlines obscured its ugliness. The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported a dismal 96,000 jobs created. Whisper numbers suggested around 200,000. June and July totals were revised down 41,000. They’re usually momentum drivers for future data releases.
U-3 unemployment dropped from 8.3% to 8.1%. It’s because 368,000 workers hadn’t found jobs after over a year of looking. BLS calls them non-persons. They don’t exist.
At the same time, it added a fictitious 87,000 jobs based on so-called birth/death calculations. They turn reality on its head.
The labor force participation rate fell from 63.7% to 63.5% month over month. Doing so hit a 30 year low.
The total number of non-person workers surged 2.7 million. It’s 3.2% above a year ago. An astonishing 89 million Americans want jobs can’t find them. Their numbers equal Germany’s entire population.
America’s employment to population ratio fell from 58.4% in July to 58.3% in August. It’s the lowest since August 2011.
Workers without jobs for six months fell monthly since spring. It’s because they can’t find employment and stopped looking. They’re leaving the labor market because their jobless benefits expired. If extended ones lapse, about one quarter of unemployed people only will get relief, but for how long who knows.
The newly unemployed who’ve been seeking work for five weeks or less increased 133,000. It’s 5% more than July. Mean and median unemployment duration rose in August. They stand at 39.2 and 18 weeks respectively.
Economist John Williams reengineers economic data based on more reliable decades earlier modeling. Payroll job gains were pathetically few. The broader Household Survey declined by 119,000. July plunged by 195,000.
Real unemployment is 22.8%. Expect worse, not better, ahead.
Private payrolls barely registered half of expectations. Manufacturing dropped for the first time since September 2011. Down 15,000, it was the largest decline since August 2010.
Goods-producing employment is highly cyclical. It leads the rest of the jobs market. Expect service sector declines to follow. Manufacturers created virtually no jobs since April. It’s eerily similar to what happened in 2007. Perhaps another inflection point was reached.
Central bank policies and pronouncements so far divorced financial markets from economic reality. August report numbers had practically no redeeming features. The private payroll diffusion index slid from 54.3 to 50.2 month over month. It’s the lowest read in 30 months.
The manufacturing index collapsed. It fell from 50.6 to 36.4. It’s the weakest showing since August 2010. The index of aggregate hours worked barely gained 0.1%. In July it lost 0.2%. In Q 3, it’s running at 0.2% annualized growth.
It’s half what Q 2 posted and slowest since Q 4 2009. It portends slower Q 3 GDP growth than Q 2’s weak 1.7% pace.
Hourly and weekly earning declined fractionally. The latter fell for the second straight month. It was the first time since winter 2009. Given rising food, energy, healthcare and transportation costs, household spending power is increasingly pressured.
Forward-looking indicators portend further employment deterioration. Workweek and overtime hours growth are absent. The factory workweek declined for the past four months.
Most jobs created are part-time or temp low pay/poor benefit ones. Temp hiring tends to lead total employment up or down. It fell for the first time in five months.
In August, it’s significant that nearly twice as many people went on food stamps as found jobs. Recovery is pure fakery. Main Street America remains in protracted Depression. Half the population is impoverished or bordering on it.
Lost public ector jobs make things worse. Instead of creating them during hard times, nearly 700,000 federal, state and local positions were shed since summer 2008. Around half are teachers.
It’s part of Obama’s anti-public education jihad. He wants it commodified into another business profit center. Teaching and learning don’t matter. Corporate America’s bottom line counts most. At issue is sacrificing a generation of youths on the alter of money power wanting more of it.
Obama menaces freedom and other democratic values. Besides waging war on humanity multiple ways, since taking office in January 2009, employment is down 261,000.
The jobs creator lost them big time. Those generated stand in stark contrast to bountiful good full-time ones. They were plentiful most often from the 1940s through the 1960s.
Since the 1930s, negative employment only happened once at this stage in the presidential cycle. It was during Bush’s first term. He got a second because of electoral rigging.
He lost in 2000 and 2004 but served eight years as president. Whether Obama matches him remains to be seen. At this stage, it’s close.
Wall Street favors both candidates. Whatever the outcome, they’ll win. They still get to choose. Whatever they want, they’ll get. In two months, we’ll know what they’ve already decided.
BLS releases seasonally adjusted numbers. Unadjusted figures paint a different picture. The over 16 aged non-institutional labor population isn’t seasonally adjusted. It rose 212,000 to 243.6 million.
Unadjusted Household Survey labor force numbers contracted 1.27 million in August compared to the adjusted 368,000 decline. The unadjusted participation rate fell twice as much as the adjusted figure.
Seasonally adjusted August employment totals dropped 119,000 to 142.1 million. Unadjusted they fell 568,000. Last year they declined 49,000. It 2010, they were down 115,000.
The adjusted August number of unemployed declined 250,000. Unadjusted it fell 704,000. Normally that’s positive. Not, however, when those with jobs fall. The sum of the two, or decline in labor force size, represents workers BLS declared non-persons.
They need work but can’t find it. Washington erased them. Doing so shamelessly tries hiding dismal employment conditions. Not according to White House Council of Economic Advisors Chairman Alan Krueger.
Inverting reality, he claimed:
“Today’s employment report provides further evidence that the U.S. economy is continuing to recover. It is critical that we continue the policies that are building an economy that works for the middle class as we dig our way out of the deep hole that was caused by the severe recession that began in December 2007.”
Millions of Americans wanting work can’t find it. Most able to are woefully underemployed. Instead of full-time/high pay/good benefit jobs, they’re stuck with low pay/few benefit part-time or temp ones. Many people need two to survive. Many spouses need employment to help meet family expenses.
Conditions are deplorable and worsening. Once plentiful higher pay full-time jobs reside in low wage countries. American workers are left high and dry.
Republicans and Democrats don’t care. They’re long on rhetoric, short on performance, contemptuous of human need, and belligerent against anyone, group, or nation opposing them.
It’s been this way for decades. It accelerated post-9/11. It’s fast-tracking toward oblivion. For growing millions, it’s nightmarish.
Each generation since the 1970s is worse off than its predecessor. The American dream no longer exists. Neoliberal ideologues planned it that way.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
His new book is titled “How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War”
Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.