As promised in February, here’s an update on the US employment data. After a lot of ballyhoo in recent months, the US Department of Labour has released terrible July employment growth data, and quietly revised downwards the employment data for the previous two months. The latest ‘preliminary’ (subject to additional revision) numbers for June and July are 131.24 and 131.27 million respectively. Even assuming a resumption of the very modest increase rate in the Spring, employment is unlikely to reach 132 million by the end of the year. This compares to 132.4 million when Bush ‘took’ office four years ago, and 135.3 million promised last January (though by one interpretation of his mangled speech, he was really only promising 132.5 million). This would make Bush the first president since the great depression to record an absolute loss in total employment during his administration.
In order just to match the 150 thousand new entrants to the labour force each month due to population increase, employment should be rising by 1.8 million per year, and should now be nearing 139 million. What’s worse, the quality of the new jobs created has been exceptionally poor. Rather than creating high value, knowledge-intensive jobs to replace the jobs offshored to lower-wage countries, nine out of ten of the highest-growth sectors of employment are low-wage, low-expectation jobs (food service, secretarial etc.) Most growth continues to be in part-time and temporary jobs. No surprise that so many have just given up looking for work. So much for trickle-down economics, and the promised stimulus of Bush’s tax giveaway to his rich friends.
Yet a recent AP-Ipsos poll reports 46% of Americans ‘approve’ of Bush’s handling of the economy. Who are these people and what have they been smoking?
UPDATE: Billmon has an in-depth explanation of the entire US employment and unemployment situation in this post. Well worth reading, and even gloomier than my post above.