Friday, August 7, 2009

On a quarter million jobs being an improvement

The news of the Labor Department's latest figures on July's job loss has the White House and everyone else who has any political stake in the matter jumping up and down and laughing at the Republicans. "See," they shout, "Obama's stimulus package works so well, because in July, we only lost a quarter of a million jobs. Let's put another billion into cash for clunkers."

I'm not saying going from an 9.5% unemployment rate to 9.4% isn't an improvement. But if my son was a d student and brought home a c, it wouldn't be time to buy him a new video game. It would be time to talk about how to improve his slightly improved study habits. Just because you are used to d's doesn't make c's any more acceptable. And loosing a quarter of a million jobs in one month is not acceptable. I understand it's an improvement, but it is misleading and downright insulting to tout this moderate reduction in job losses as an accomplishment. But what worries me more is using it as rock-solid evidence confirming Obama's economic polices were handed to him at Mount Sinai. We are in scary times. Even with this dip, the White House is still predicting unemployment will eventually reach 10 percent in the coming months. So the same people who are telling us to celebrate are also telling us things are going to get worse.

“The trend lines are positive,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s “We are going from massive job losses to just big job losses on our way to a stable job market, I think by next spring.”
That's an actual quote. Things are great. We are loosing a shitload of jobs, and it's horrible, but man you should have seen how bad it was a few months ago! You think this is a shitload of jobs, this is nothing.

This type of language to measure job loss is just plain stupid. It doesn't make any sense. And what makes it even worse is most of the jobs lost aren't coming back. Most manufacturers when hit with big orders via stimulus money don't hire back laid off workers, they just spring for overtime for their current staff.

If we want to measure any type of improvement, we need to look at not only job loss, but how many new jobs are created, but I'm guessing, in July, that number was well below a quarter million.

Curtis Mayfield -- Hard Times


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