Saturday, May 8, 2010

We're Still Screwed But It Was a "Good" News Day

Can we trade in Brian Williams for this guy?

I've been busy with work, plans to leave the country, and Mother's Day shopping so the little news I read from yesterday and today was enough for me to step away from the computer for a while before my head explodes. Don't you feel like you're living in an alternate universe more and more these days when you read or watch the mainstream media all optimistic about what is clearly horrible, horrible employment numbers?

This is why I supplement some of it with bloggers who don't live amongst the elite and have no incentive to lie and tell me that things are getting better when in reality the lives of nearly everyone I know has only gotten worse since 2008. But don't worry you grumpy, permanently unemployed masses. We had good news yesterday. Thanks to census jobs and crappy $8.75 an hour employment for the lowly college and law grads, 290,000 jobs were added in April and the unemployment rate is only 9.9 percent and will likely grow higher. Hooray!
The number of people out of work six months or longer reached 6.7 million in April, a new high. These people made up 45.9 percent of all unemployed, also a record high.
On the legal job front, the Jobless Juris Doctor reports that 2,200 legal jobs were lost in the last two months alone. Be sure to check out JJD's latest post on an Atlanta lawyer who used to make $250k a year now living on welfare and food stamps. The 0L lemmings who still think they can beat the odds are completely delusional.

And Subprime JD once again hits the nail on the head with his analysis that the new employment numbers are "bulllllshhittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt":
Non farm payroll data for the month of April states that the country gained 290,000 jobs. 66,000 census workers and over 180,000 were gains from the birth/death model.

From the BLS report:
"The change in total nonfarm payroll employment for February was revised from -14,000
to +39,000, and the change for March was revised from 162,000 to 230,000."

Also, U3 measure of unemployment rose to 9.9% while the U6 measure, which is a broader measure of unemployment rose to 17.1%.

Basically, the Bureau of Labor Statistics is uses data that is just as cooked as the employment data that law schools use. Lies lies lies. Congratulations, the USA is following in the footsteps of Mao, Stalin, and other command economy nutjobs. Lets all just lie to oursleves so we can feel better about the present situation.

In reality I wouldnt be surprised if the economy added some jobs from the month prior but with so many high school and college grads entering the job force at the end of the month there just arent any places for these to enter. In addition, considering the trillions of dollars the fed and treasury have pumped into the economy, surely some stabilization would have occurred. However, within 6 months this "liquidity" will begin to dry up.

We are living in scam world people, whether it be government jobs data, inflation data, crime data, law school or MBA program data, its all a bunch of bulllllshhittttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt.
Our friend Ian Welsh (thanks for adding BIDER to your blogroll!) had this to say about the grim news both here and around the world. I prefer my journalists pessimistic as long as they are giving it to me straight:

There was an opportunity to break the power of these folks—to wipe them out, but it required calling their bluff, not caving to them. That opportunity has now passed. While the world economy remains very fragile and could go into a tailspin any time if anything goes wrong, best guess is we have another really lousy recovery and economic cycle to look forward to, if austerity measures don’t crash it out entirely. Over 80% of any gains will go to corporate profits, virtually nothing to ordinary citizens, and we’ll have another lost decade in which for virtually everyone the economy sucks.

And to end on an even more pessimistic note, I'll leave you with a quote from Felix Salmon at Reuters. H/T Correntewire.
Remember though that 6.7 million people have now been unemployed for more than six months — 46% of the total unemployment figure. We’ll literally never find jobs for all of them: many will never be employed again. Which is the real underlying tragedy of this recession, and of the jobless recovery.
Clearly all the hoopla over the April employment data was just more kabuki from the media to make really, really bad news sound kinda hopeful and optimistic. In short, those of us who are unemployed or underemployed are still screwed and will be for a long time. And with that I'll go back to selling books and music on Amazon (I'm not the only one!).


  1. So, you're really leaving the country? Where are you planning to go and what are you going to do while there?

  2. While there is no doubt that the labor market is still weak, that doesn't mean the good news is "manufactured" or that the numbers are all a scam.

    We were on a sinking ship, and now we've plugged all the holes. We're no longer sinking. That doesn't mean we're in good shape. We still have to bucket out all the water we've been inundated with and such. And hopefully make it to port to actually fix the ship. It's still dangerous. But we've stopped sinking, and that is an important first step in a multi-step process.

    Or, if you're not into boats maybe as a medical analogy: the patient was near death, and now we've managed to stabilize him. He's still in serious condition. He still needs to improve a lot. But stabilizing is an important first step.

  3. Another good post for this blog, as usual.

    Assuming that the 290,000 net new jobs (of unknown quality) is real, then we gained 140,000 jobs relative to population growth which is obviously good news. The bad news is that even at a rate of 150,000 new jobs per month relative to population growth (or 300,000 total) we would still need 67 months (five-and-a-half years) to re-employ 10 million unemployed people. One thing the data never tells us is information about job quality, which is important because a "job" is not a "job". In other words, a poverty-wage cashier job isn't the same as a solid middle class job with benefits.

    The other issue is, assuming that the economy is cyclic, where are we in the cycle? Are we at the start of a peak of prosperity or have we reached the peak and how long will it last? Is the long-term trend one of growth or overall decline? If you think of the economic cycle as a sine wave that propagates along a straight line, does that line have a positive (pointing upward) or negative (pointing downward) slope? If the overall trend is downward, which I think it is, then the peak of this cycle will not be as good as the previous peak and the next trough will be worse than anything we've seen yet.

  4. Frank,

    this might shed some light on the info you seek:

    In particular:
    "The average hourly pay of workers increased only slightly — by 1 cent, to $22.47. But the hourly pay of rank-and-file workers, who make up about four-fifths of the work force, rose more. It was up to $18.96, from $18.91. Combined with the increase in hours, the pay raise meant that the average rank-and-file workers received a weekly pay increase of about $3.50 in May..."

    Yes, it's little. But at the very least, like I said before, there seems to be some level of stabilization. Perhaps even improvement.

  5. I'd kill for $18.96/hr right now.



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