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Employment growth picks up in October with addition of 171,000 jobs

Today the Government released the October Labor Statistics and we see that employers have added a larger-than-expected 171,000 jobs in October across a broad spectrum of businesses. In this, the  final snapshot of the economy before election day, we have an interesting picture of job growth… more than double what it was in September.

Unfortunately, the nation’s unemployment rate rose to 7.9% from 7.8% in September. This was because more people jumped back into the labor market, including a very large group of 18-year old first time workers. This, of course, is a positive sign that workers may be feeling more confident about their job prospects.

The new Labor Department report, which also revised sharply higher job growth in September and August, may give a boost to President Obama, who continues with a slow but positive economic growth. There is still enough information for the undecided to support Obama who has kept us going even though Mitch McConnell and his Republicans have worked overtime to keep Obama’s Job Creation proposals and other forward moving activities from passing or getting any Congressional support. It’s interesting that Obama has gotten as far as he has… and it is even more interesting how little the Republicans have been concerned with helping to relieve our economy.


Unemployment rate drops to 7.8%!


After listening to Romney accusing the President of not being able to get the unemployment rate below 8.1%, today the newest rate report was released. At 7.8% it’s lowest level since January 2009.

Let’s hear it for the President as the rate came down and jobs, even though just a little (114000 jobs in September), moved up.

Meanwhile, what has Romney done to support his country in helping promote unemployment activity? Why, nothing. Nothing at all.


Jobs for July higher than expected

From McClatchy newspapers:

Stronger-than-expected July jobs number reported by the government Friday eased concerns about an economy slipping back into recession and gave wind to President Barack Obama’s re-election hopes. But economists warned that the road ahead is likely to remain bumpy.

Non-farm payrolls grew by 163,000 jobs in July, according to the Labor Department, which also said the unemployment rate inched up by less than a tenth of a percentage point to 8.3 percent.

The strong report sent stocks soaring for most of Friday’s trading, with the Dow Jones industrial average up more than 220 points in the first hour, closing up 217.29 for the day at 13,096.17.

Mainstream economists had expected about 100,000 new jobs, so Friday’s report was wildly above expectations and more than double the revised 64,000 jobs that were added in June. Most heartening, economists said, was that the gains were spread across all sectors but construction and government hiring.

I find this is very encouraging even though there was a slight increase in unemployment.

Add this information to the number of private jobs gained under Democrats since 1961 and you wonder what Mitt Romney is really going to do about jobs. My guess is nothing!


The Restaurants folks eat in as an economic indicator…

The New York Times has pointed out that…

…when Americans feel better about their finances, they are more likely to eat at restaurants with full service, including bringing the food to the table, rather than at restaurants with limited service. At the moment, both the restaurant sales and the falling unemployment rate indicate the economy is doing better than the Gross Domestic Product figures would seem to show.

Here are the stats:

So where have you been eating lately? I’ve been going over our cc receipts for the last month or so and discovered that my wife and I fit right in with this recovery crowd… we don’t eat at fast food joints at all and our sit-down restaurant visits have been predominant.

Where have you been eating?

So the economy is turning around…

…says the NY Times:

The United States added 200,000 new jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday, a robust figure indicating that the economic recovery may finally be building up a head of steam.

The nation’s unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent in December, from a revised 8.7 percent in November, the government said.

I wonder, will this be discussed by Romney or Santorum or Paul or Gingrich? Only if they can make it seem like a downturn, which it’s not… but, hell, they’ll say it is. That’s been their

Remember what Hoover gave us?

typical response to any of Obama‘s achievements.

This was the sixth month that the economy added at least 100,000 jobs. Not enough, maybe, to get back to pre-recession levels, but, hey, the Republicans stepped on Obama’s jobs bill that would have created considerably more positions Also, if you look at Republican Primary speeches, none of the yoyos are getting ready to create ANY jobs (except for themselves).

So this is the time to get back in the employment lines and push forward… and forget about the right wing campaign to make the 99%
poorer. It’s up to us to help make things better.

Some distressing facts we should review from the US Census Bureau:

WASHINGTON — Continued high unemployment drove the number of Americans living in poverty to a record high in 2010 and dragged down median household income for the third straight year since the Great Recession first darkened the nation’s economy in 2007.

More than a year after the economic recovery officially began in June 2009, 46.2 million people had annual earnings below the poverty line last year, up from 43.6 million the previous year, according to new U.S. Census Bureau figures released Tuesday. That’s the largest number in the 52 years for which poverty estimates have been published.

Thanks to Mock, Paper, Scissors for passing this along...

So the question is, how do we get back on track and IMPROVE the well-being of the 99%. If you don’t think it’s by increasing revenues as well as cutting some unnecessary expenses ( and healthcare, education and unemployment relief are NOT unnecessary) then you are living with a blindfold on.

And if you are a White non-Hispanic like me, resting on your current advantages will also not improve the lot of all of us. Remember, we are soon to be a minority group compared to the rest.

Friday report from the Labor Dept.: Jobs up higher than expected…

According to Reuters, U.S. job growth accelerated more than expected in July as private employers stepped up hiring, easing fears the economy was sliding into a fresh recession.

It was originally expected that the number of new jobs would b3 85,000… less than the 100,000 minimum necessary to start correcting the unemployment burden. In reality, the new estimate is that the number is 117,000 which brings the unemployment rate from 9.2% to 9.1%.

How much better the situation gets in the next six months is unknown. A stand-off between Democrats and Republicans over raising the country’s debt ceiling poisoned the atmosphere for employers and consumers. Whether this new report helps them to bounce back is questionable.

Austan Goolsbee

Commenting from the White House, Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee said:

“While the better than expected report is welcome news, the unemployment rate remains unacceptably high and faster growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the downturn.” 

Ben Bernanke interviewed on 60 Minutes: Income Inequality Is ‘Creating Two Societies’

Gosh… Has Bernanke just figured this stuff out after helping to make the inequality himself?

Here’s a snip they had on HuffPo this morning:

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Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke believes the growing income gap is “creating two societies” in America.
The central bank chief weighed in on income inequality during an interview Sunday with “60 Minutes” reporter Scott Pelley:

Pelley: The gap between rich and poor in this country has never been greater. In fact we have the biggest income disparity gap of any industrialized country in the world. And I wonder where you think that’s taking America.

Bernanke: It’s a very bad development. It’s creating two societies. And it’s based very much, I think, on educational differences. The unemployment rate we’ve been talking about. If you’re a college graduate, unemployment is 5 percent. If you’re a high school graduate, it’s 10 percent or more. It’s a very big difference. It leads to an unequal society, and a society which doesn’t have the cohesion that we’d like to see.”

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You notice he’s not saying what happens if you are a college graduate over 55 who became unemployed at the end of the Bush Debacle. I’ll bet our unemployment rate is at about 15%.

Five for every one… and why unemployment will go on longer than we want it.

The current Dept. of Labor statistic is that there are five unemployed job searchers for every one job that opens up at present. This means that only 20% of people seeking work right now are likely to get it, leaving the rest of us to ponder our futures in different ways.

Some, of course, will retire or take early retirement with reduced Social Security because they have little or no choice. Some, who have access to some investment money, will set up new small businesses… often with themselves as the only employees… and hope that something will come along at some point to get them off their own dime (I call this the freelance graphic designer option. I’ve been there, too.) Some will turn to crime… no joke…it is happening already.

The 20% who do get work are, for the most part, getting jobs which pay less than they were making before they ended up on the unemployment rolls, while their day-to-day cost of living expenses are significantly higher (just take a look at gasoline!)

So what is the government planning to cure this situation? Damn little, I’m afraid. Congress will be a left-right wrestling ring. The Obama Administration will hope Congress does something…but it won’t. The Supreme Court will continue its firming up of the Corporate Wealthy.

And we’ll watch a lot more television, cry in our sleep a lot more, and go progressively downhill as the Middle Class disappears.

A look at how unemployment has grown in the past 4 years…

… from figures at the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Click on the expand button so it fills your monitor and watch your area of the country. I saw the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia go from 2% to over 10% in the 4 year coverage (which includes me!)… and look at how the whole country changes.

Neither Republicans nor Democrats, nor Tea Baggers, nor anyone else has done anything to solve this problem. So what do we do?

Jobs. The Problem and the Solution.

I should have linked you to this article on Ramona’s Voices a week ago…Ramona has put together a great summary of where we are with the unemployment problem, and has put together the obvious solution… and backed it up with a number of links.

Here’s the beginning of her article:

The consensus, no matter who says it and why, is that American manufacturing industries are no longer of Americans, by Americans, or even for Americans. It’s beyond a worrisome rumor, it’s an established fact: American manufacturing, compared to manufacturing world-wide, fills a niche no bigger than the size of an ant farm box.

Let’s face it, the people in charge of keeping Americans working are not just incompetent or oblivious, they’re the next best thing to the enemy. The public sector is beyond just aiding and abetting the private sector, they’re right down in the trenches with them. Such a cacophony from Big Money, from the Right Wing, from the keepers of the status quo. Who could blame the people in charge for lending them an ear?

You kidding? We could! We should! A whole lot of us DO!

You can go in and read the fest HERE.

And let’s consider the real solution here… taxing the rich and creating jobs through social problems, a la FDR. One more selection:

Oh, and by the way: We need to tax the hell out of the filthy rich and make them pay. Then we need to spend what they’re forced to fork over on social programs and American outlets for gainful employment.

Tax and spend, that’s the ticket. (Note that I can say that without even once gagging or flinching.)

Thanks, Ramona… I certainly agree with you.

Cartoon(s) of the Week: Where do Conservatives stand when it is time to extend Unemployment Benefits?

Jim Morin in the Miami Herald:

Why support our unemployed workers when there are a lot of expenses in Afghanistan?

– and –

Stuart Carlson in the Milwaukee Journal:

Of course Republicans want to make us more self-supporting and responsible…


When a show I have directed ends it is often the thing that spurs a bout of depression with me, and the end of Hunting Of The Snark is no different for me. When I combine it with my current unemployed situation, the taking down I received from at least one of the Full Circle Theater founders (who made it clear that, since I hadn’t put $30,000 into the place I was not a decision maker… or even a recommender), and the cold I have also developed, I am considerably down for a Monday morning.

If I didn’t take my regular medication for depression it would probably be a lot worse… a depressing thought in and of itself. The rainy weather doesn’t help either.

I’m on my way to the store this afternoon to pick up necessary test-strips for my blood-test meter. Maybe a ride in the car will be a pickup.

Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?

by Thom Hartmann

I had to pass this article by Thom Hartmann along, since it tells us a lot of how our government thinks…or doesn’t…and how decades of anti-union Labor Departments have put our concern for workers in the toilet. Pass this one on to folks you know. – Bill

clipped from

The postal service this week announced it would be cutting as many as 30,000 jobs through attrition – using hiring freezes as workers retire or quit.

According to American Postal Workers Union president William Burrus, cutting the U.S. Postal Service delivery to five days a week would be the beginning of the demise of the Post office. Burrus says it’s not true that the postal service has to initiate major changes to survive a grave crisis.
Burrus says a little-known requirement by Congress for the postal service to pre-pay retiree health care obligations is the central cause of financial problems at the postal service. Absent that burden, the union president says, there would be a surplus of $3.7 billion over the last three fiscal years. In other words, if we had Medicare for All, the postal service would be profitable. Probably forever. Why are we the only stupid industrialized country in the world?
– Thom
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A Note From Jenean Gilstrap

I just finished watching Al Franken make a speech in the Senate on the freezing of unemployment as of last night at midnight due to Senator Bunning’s “One-Man Filibuster.” As I was listening to Al, I checked my e-mail and found this note from Ms. Gilstrap.

I pass it on to you:

hi bill – my sister, jerelyn gilstrap [] and i were just discussing the news of senator bunning’s hold on the passage of an unemployment benefits extension bill that would allow those whose unemployment benefits expired the end of february to obtain an extension of those benefits – in any event, i am one of those impacted upon by this republican’s power play over the unemployed – jerelyn and i were thinking you might be interested in doing a post on this issue – an issue that sorely needs a rambunctious forum such as yours!!!

below is the little ditty i placed on my facebook page – [since my facebook site is just a communications forum for my own family, i was a bit freer in my verbal language than i might have been otherwise]:


as you can see, i hold rather strong feelings about this, especially because i am a senior citizen, was laid off through no fault of my own and struggle daily with just the necessities, a story familiar to way too many others, as well – necessities like medicare/additional insurance for which i struggle to pay and upon which this suspended income now impacts –

again, it would be wonderful to see this issued addressed in one of your fabulous posts!!!

thanks very much for your time and energy!


jenean c gilstrap

Let’s deal with the jobs problem…

I’m taking a personal look at this, since I’ve been out of work for some time and this past week I was turned down for employment at a job I thought I was uniquely suited for… after an interview that I thought went well on the phone and another one in person.

By my best guess, I’ve applied for over 350 jobs in the past eighteen months and, as the economy dropped into the toilet, I have been turned down without interview by most of these… many that have just ignored the on-line application. Of these, at least half of them I was more than qualified for and of the rest I could have done them with little or no retraining.

None of these jobs said “don’t apply if you are over 60”, but I think that my being 63 (and even if I don’t tell my age, they want to know my college degrees and graduation dates and it’s not hard to figure out how old someone is who got a Bachelor’s degree in 1968 and a Masters in 1969) has a lot to do with it. People look at you when you’re 63 and think about how much their benefit expenses are going to increase… or how soon you will drop dead after they pour expense into your training.

I’ve revised resumes, stressing different strengths depending on the jobs. I’ve listed the support letters I got from previous managers. Hell, on at least 2 occasions I;ve offered to volunteer for free for a few months so they could find out if I was worth hiring.

So I’m trying to deal with the job problem. I can’t afford early retirement and I’m eating up retirement funds I started backing up forty years ago. They could all be gone in another two years. That would leave me with the possibility of retirement, which I am totally uninterested in, and meager Social Security funds.

So I’m counting on the government, this ongoing war zone between two extreme parties, to come up with some way to stop losing thousands of jobs a month (although I am supposed to be relieved that it’s gone from hundreds of thousands a month to merely tens of thousands.) And I’m counting on my own ability to keep looking and not to take being turned down too seriously. But it is getting very hard.

Occasionally I get a freelance job… but given the economy, many of these no longer show up, and those that do are trying to spend very little money. Not a bright sign.

And, of course, I am living in a region that is not overly populated with jobs in the first place… but the life turns that got me here are not easily changed: moving is not possible right now. I look for jobs in one hour driving distances… but that only makes a small increase in possibilities.

Now, am I in a different position from hundreds of thousands of other people? No. I ran an article last week that showed 1 out of 5 men in the working age bracket are unemployed (the figure for women is half that). That’s 20%. So when I here there is a 10% unemployment rate but know that 20% of men can’t get hired, then it is clear that statistics don’t mean a thing in the real world.

In my life I have made money for employers, never looked for other jobs when I thought I had a position with a company, and never put money ahead of the job. I suppose that makes me stupid… I’ve seen many around me who play their game on employers and actually get ahead. I can’t seem to do that… I have to be an “honorable employee”. But I could be changing out of necessity.

Today I will apply for another half-dozen positions. I’ll follow up on a bunch of applications I did last week. I’ll look into pushing for more freelance work as I search the web.

And I won’t give up what has become a very slim hope.

1 in 5 Working-Age American Men Don’t Have A Job

Well, I’m in that 20% pool right now and it is very scary. Read this clip from today’s HuffPo… and go HERE to get the rest of it.
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One in five working-age American men does not have a job, according to the latest federal employment numbers, an all-time high that illustrates the extraordinary toll this recession has taken on male-dominated professions in particular.
Men are more likely to work in sectors like manufacturing and construction that are more sensitive to economic downturns. But this downturn has been particularly brutal on those industries, leading some observers to call it a “mancession.”
Only 80.3 percent of men age 25-54 had jobs in December — the lowest since the Bureau of Labor Statistics started collecting that data in 1948 — at which point the figure was 94.4 percent. When the recession began in December 2007, less than 13 percent of men in this age bracket were out of work.
The percentage of women age 25-54 who have work is also down, but not as dramatically.
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Remember the CETA program in the 70s?

I do… it’s more or less how I met my wife, when I was hiring people to work at the Jamaica Arts Center in Jamaica, NY, and Elly’s job was placing CETA workers…

Well, according to this article in the HuffPo, Democrats are contemplating bringing CETA back to help solve the unemployment problem. Here’s the first few paragraphs, but go to Huffington Post because there is much more:

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As desperate Democratic lawmakers cast about for ways to create jobs from Capitol Hill, a 1970s-era jobs program is getting a fresh look.

Known as CETA — the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act — the program provided direct government funding to hire temporary workers. At its peak in 1978, it had created 725,000 public service jobs and shaved roughly one point off the unemployment figure.

A one-point drop in the unemployment rate — not to mention the ancillary benefit of hundreds of thousands of people having money to spend on other goods and services — would give politicians something concrete to point to before the mid-term elections.

“That’s certainly one of the options being discussed, the CETA program back in the 70s,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told HuffPost in a recent interview, when asked if leadership was considering direct government hiring as a partial answer to the deepening unemployment.

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Now you tell me!

Watching Dylan Ratigan’s Morning Meeting I heard White House reporter Chuck Todd comment on the fact that there are 6 people looking for every 1 job available (while meanwhile the banks are showing record profits.)

Either jobs aren’t a number one priority at this point, or profit triumphs over work.

Anyway… I wish the five other guys who are looking for work at the jobs I’ve been going after would take a couple of days off.

Quote of the Day

Commenting on whether the USA will experience a “Lost Decade” as a result of recession, like Japan in the 1990s:

“There’s no way we’re going to tolerate a Lost Decade in this country. It’s a fantasy, because the House of Representatives has elections every two years. The country is not going to tolerate 10 percent unemployment indefinitely. People (in power in Washington) need to be aware of that. If they don’t take the opportunities now . . . someone else will.”

-James K. Galbraith, Economist.