Inside The January Jobs "Whiff"

TROUBLING JOBS REPORT UNDERSCORES WEAKNESS OF ECONOMY’S “FUNDAMENTALS” The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs data this week (.pdf here) … with the American economy posting a stated gain of 151,000 positions during the month of January.  That figure was well below the 190,000-mark analysts were expecting…


The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its latest jobs data this week (.pdf here) … with the American economy posting a stated gain of 151,000 positions during the month of January.  That figure was well below the 190,000-mark analysts were expecting – and even further below the 292,000 print posted in December (although that number was downgraded by 30,000 positions in the new report).

So … what’s the real scoop?  What data within the data should we be paying attention to?

Well, let’s start with the labor participation rate – which measures the percentage of working age Americans who are participating in the work force.  That number inched up from 62.6 to 62.7 percent – which means it is still hovering at near-four decade lows.  If the labor force was the same size it was in 2007 – prior to the onset of the recent recession – America’s unemployment rate would be 9.6 percent, not 4.9 percent.

Big difference, right?

Also worth noting?  A whopping 15.9 million Americans were “underemployed” last month – meaning they were either unemployed (7.8 million), working part-time out of necessity (6 million) or giving up on their job search altogether (2.1 million).

That puts the U.S. “underemployment rate” – or “real unemployment rate” – at 9.9 percent, which is roughly a percentage point higher than it was prior to the recession.

Speaking of being “underemployed,” of the 151,000 new jobs added in January, 58,000 were retail positions while 47,000 of them were “in food services and drinking places.”  In other words … the vast majority of new jobs added last month weren’t people embarking on or elevating their careers, but rather taking low-income sales or waitressing positions to try and make ends meet.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: America’s economy can rebound.  Really rebound, too … not just in the sense politicians like to take credit for.  But if that’s ever going to happen, there is going to have to be a fundamental reversal of the current prevailing “wisdom” in Washington, D.C.

A radical reorientation …

This is precisely why we were so adamant last fall that the GOP reject the speakership of Paul Ryan – a status quo “Republican” who promptly used his new authority to ram through yet another status quo Washington spending bill loaded up with all sorts of liberal agenda items.

We can’t afford those bills anymore … just as we can no longer afford the perpetual expansion of the welfare state, or unchecked crony capitalism, or the radical redistribution of wealth, or Obamacare or more “Wars on Terror.”

Here’s the simple math: The more money we allow government to steal from us – and then use against us via job-crushing executive overreach – the less likely our economy is to grow and thrive.  Conversely, the less money we allow government to take from us – the less damage it is capable of doing to current and future generations of aspiring, career-minded Americans.

We’re not saying core government functions shouldn’t be funded – they should – but the era of unsustainably huge government cannot continue.


Related posts


Murdaugh Retrial Hearing: Interview With Bill Young

Will Folks
State House

Conservative South Carolina Lawmakers Lead Fight Against CRT

Mark Powell

‘Murdaugh Murders’ Saga: Trial Could Last Into March

Will Folks


erneba February 7, 2016 at 8:35 am

I am to the point that I don’t believe any numbers released by this administration.

I have always believed that our true unemployment number was around ten per cent.

Mark February 8, 2016 at 9:40 am

Well you might as well make that number up. You guys make everything else up. It certainly is easy to be right when you just conform the facts to fit your narrative. But that is what most Republicans do.

Bible Thumper February 7, 2016 at 9:36 am

Yes, Fits is right. The US economy has not fully recovered from the Great Recession. Regulation of coal and carbon emissions, Obamacare and it’s effects on hiring and part time work …. All the regulatory efforts that companies have to engage in to meet the requirements of new regulations has hobbled the economic recovery. However, the jobs report had plenty of good news too. Not only has employment improved, but weekly wages are up 2.5% over last year with inflation only at 0.7%.

In the Labor Participation Rate, Fits fails to take into account the aging population. The 60+ population as a percentage of the adult population has increased about 3.5%. Since many are retired, their Labor force participation rate is about a third of those under 60. A more accurate measure of recovery would be the LFPR of those 25 – 54 years of age.

From the above linked chart, you can see that the recovery is only half complete. The LFPR fell 5% in 2008 and 2009. It hardly budged in 2010 or 2011. Since near the end of 2011 to the present there has been improvement. The improved employment situation does not, however, make up for all the lost wealth in home equity, depleted savings that occured during the recession.

Mark February 8, 2016 at 9:46 am

Yes its Obama’s fault. We would have recovered by now if we had just left the party that caused the recession in power. What a load of crap. If we had left them in power I guess they would have completely bankrupted the Middle Class by now, instead of just bleeding us dry over time.

Bible Thumper February 8, 2016 at 10:06 am

Of course, you ignore that both the House and Senate switched Democrat in 2007, before the recession, or that Democrats had a lot to do with the subprime debacle at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
You can see from the links above and in my previous comment that the recovery did not begin until after the Republicans won the House in 2012.

Mark February 8, 2016 at 11:15 am

Republicans policies caused the recession. It was a combination of the repeal of Glass Steagall, deregulation of derivative trading, and Wall Street greed.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were very minor players in the collapse. If Glass Steagall had been in place the system would have contained the collapse to Wall Street. The Government would not have been involved, because the general public would not have been at risk. The Enron Collapse was the first sign of the economic collapse and was ignored.

The Democrats did nothing to cause the collapse, because they passed nothing during that time to cause any of that. In fact they had no ability to pass anything over a Bush veto and you know it. In fact they spent the entire time passing what Bush and Paulson told them they needed to pass to prevent the economy from collapsing.

Republicans are full of shit. The entire collapse can be laid at their feet, with one exception. Clinton should have vetoed the repeal of Glass Steagall, but he bargained that away for other concessions.

Republicans implemented trickle down economics during the Reagan adm. That policy has rained supreme since and the Middle Class has been dying because of it. The collapse was just one more result of those policies.

Comrade1917 February 7, 2016 at 9:37 am

Bartender and waiter jobs … junk jobs.

shifty henry February 7, 2016 at 10:35 am

The waitresses I have dated were great dates. To win their affections only took giving them attention — they loved to be spoiled after some of the abusive treatment by customers. My favorites worked at Lizard Thickets. Another plus was that on a nice Spring or Summer week-day they could get another gal to take their shift when I had free time from appointments. We would head for Lake Murray, or if planned ahead we could spend a few days in the Smokies. Those mid-week trysts are still fresh in my mind. (sigh)

Rocky Verdad February 7, 2016 at 2:08 pm

Which Thicket? The one near the Horseshoe?

shifty henry February 7, 2016 at 2:25 pm

Since I lived in St. Andrews nearly all of my dates were with waitresses from the Thicket on Broad River Road across from Dept. of Corrections, with others from Forest Drive, Garners Ferry Rd, and Beltline. Knowing the Williams family got me some introductions — nice kids and many thanks for that! They got a lot of dough from me on my fine dining experiences.

shifty henry February 7, 2016 at 2:30 pm

PS- anyone else having Disqus problems this morning? Three times this morning while posting it disappeared on me, but I played around with it and found my posts still there but is a bitch. Going to give Disqus time today to settle down. This is more annoying than Disqus making me re-sign time after time…..DAMN!!

Mark February 8, 2016 at 9:43 am

When I was growing up anyone who worked was respected. I guess that has all changed now. Republicans only respect people who are rich. Even the guy who has never done a thing in his life except inherit daddy’s money. I think I know where this country has gone wrong.


Leave a Comment