April 5, 2011

The ‘Con-Temporary Economy’: Since the End of the Recession, Obama Economy Has Added Far More Temp Jobs Than Total Jobs

Filed under: Business Moves,Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 6:19 pm

April 6 Note: The total private sector job additions since the 2009 recession ended in the table and chart below and the related narrative have been corrected. The Obama economy has lost 263,000 jobs on an overall basis when temps are excluded, but the private sector has gained 128,000 non-temp jobs in 19 months (about 7,000 per month).


The table and chart below elaborate on a fact I quickly pointed to (with pictorial help) in a pending (Update: now published) Pajamas Media column:

“… if you take away the temps, the economy has still lost jobs since the recession ended.”

I have looked at five relevant time periods. Four of them represent the first 21 months after the end of recessions, and one (Bush 43 – June 2003 to March 2005) represents the 21-month period after Bush 43 got the income and investment-related tax cuts he wanted.

Here’s what the table reveals about changes in total employment, private-sector employment, and employment at temporary help services during the five periods involved (source data saved here at host in not very pretty form):



  1. It will be no surprise to BizzyBlog readers that the 21 months after the recession as normal people define it ended in September 1982 has the best performance of the bunch by leaps and bounds. That’s because it relied on tax cuts to boost the economy, and its tax cuts were far more significant than Bush 43′s in Item 4.
  2. Bush 41′s “answer” to relatively minor economic difficulties was to raise taxes. Fortunately for him he still had some of Reagan’s momentum. Nonetheless, the post-recession jobs performance under Bush 41 was quite unimpressive.
  3. Then we get to Bush 43′s first attempt to kick-start a meandering economy. There are lots of other reasons to why it didn’t work (the 9/11 attacks first and foremost), but the main reason the economy performed poorly in terms of job growth after the 2001 “recession” (which never occurred as normal people define it) is that he attempted to stimulate the economy by sending everybody checks from the IRS. This was a one-time sort-of shot in the arm to consumer demand which quickly wore off.
  4. Bush finally got it right in mid-2003, when his relatively small tax cuts (compared to Reagan’s) took effect. That was enough to generate a level of employment growth that was a bit more than half of Reagan’s (but on a larger population base).
  5. Then we get to Obamanomics, supposedly driven by “stimulus” but also clearly hampered by excessive, arbitrary, and capricious regulation. As you can see, since the POR (Pelosi-Obama-Reid) Economy’s four-quarter recession ended, the economy has added 245,000 jobs. 636,000 jobs have been added in the private sector; but that growth consists of 508,000 jobs added at temporary help services. Therefore, the rest of the economy has  LOST of 263,000 jobs (245K minus 508K).

Call it our “Con-Temporary Economy.”

Here’s how it graphs, excluding Item 3 (Memo to Paul “All This Stuff About Uncertainty is a Myth Made Up to Blame Unemployment on Obama” Krugman: The Obama bars are what pervasive business uncertainty looks like):



McDonald’s Is Hiring 50,000; Usual Media Ridicule of ‘Hamburger Flippers’ Notably Absent

imlovinitFirst, let me make something clear. One thing I learned in my first job as a dishwasher back in the Mesozoic Era is that all work conscientiously done can be noble. I don’t criticize McDonald’s for wanting to grow their business and the businesses of their franchisees, and I surely won’t criticize anyone for taking a fast-food job to put food on the table or to gain an employment foothold.

That said, the people who have expressed contempt for such jobs and for an economy that for the last 30-plus years has, according to certain wrong-headed social critics, been devolving into one where the only jobs available will be low-paying, dead-end service-sector jobs have been awfully quiet in the wake of the fast-food king’s announcement that it’s looking to hire 50,000 workers.

An unbylined write-up at the Associated Press Monday evening comes across as more of a puffy promo than as a hard-news piece (puffery in bold):

McDonald’s wants to fill 50K jobs on hiring day

McDonald’s Corp. will hold its first national hiring day April 19 to fill 50,000 openings at its restaurants nationwide. The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., says it is making a concerted effort to add staff as its business improves and as more of its restaurants stay open 24 hours a day.

McDonald’s is hiring restaurant crew and management for full-time and part-time positions.

It is also trying to shed the negative connotation of employment at the fast-food chain, once dubbed “McJobs.” About half of its franchisees and more than 75 percent of its managers started as store workers.

“A McJob is one with career growth and endless possibilities,” the company said in a statement.

Those who are interested can apply in stores or online. Some restaurants will hold events and interviews that day.

My, that’s an awfully sympathetic piece, and, to an extent, good for them.


But I can’t help but notice how starkly yesterday’s kid-glove treatment by AP contrasts with how Business Writer Rick Gladstone at the very same wire service viewed things in December 1987 during a (naturally) Republican administration in an item headlined “New Job Growth Will Stumble in 1988″ (seen at right).

Showing how downbeat press reports during Republican or conservative administrations are so often so very wrong, the economy during 1988 added 3.24 million seasonally adjusted jobs, up from 3.15 million in 1987. That included 282,000 goods-producing jobs.

Also during the mid-1980s:

  • At the New York Times on September 7, 1986, Barbara Ehrenreich asked “Is the Middle Class Doomed?” while claiming that, “Most of us are ‘middle class,’ or so we like to believe. But there are signs that America is becoming a more divided society: over the last decade, the rich have been getting richer; the poor have been getting more numerous, and those in the middle do not appear to be doing as well as they used to. If America is ‘coming back,’ as President Reagan reassured us in the wake of the economic malaise of the early 1980′s, it may be coming back in a harsh and alien form.”
  • On September 3, 1984, two months before the November elections (/surprise), CBS Evening News anchor emeritus Walter Cronkite narrated what was in the words of Steven Greenhouse at the New York Times, a “probing” and “timely” hourlong documentary called, “High Tech: Dream or Nightmare?” Greenhouse’s key questions: “By destroying many high-paying factory jobs, are high-tech production techniques going to turn the United States into a nation of $50,000-a-year systems managers and $3.50-an-hour janitors and hamburger flippers? In other words, is high tech going to polarize the United States and cause its great middle class to disappear?”
  • Democratic presidential candidate Michael Dukakis, based on this August 1988 AP report, was clearly anchoring his candidacy to the idea that the economy under Reagan had generated nothing but low-paying jobs.

During research, I noticed that Rush Limbaugh also mentioned the topic of disparate media treatment yesterday.

Today, the usual class-war suspects seem to be quiet as mice. Perhaps it’s because they know that this time, McDonald’s large expansion really is a sign that something in the economy is fundamentally wrong, and that on the street it goes by one word: Obamanomics.

Cross-posted at NewsBusters.org.

Quote of the Day: Walter Williams

Walter WilliamsThe wrap to his latest Creators Syndicate column (“Diversity Perversity”):

Diversity is an elitist term used to give respectability to acts and policy that would otherwise be deemed as racism.

Read the whole thing.

Almost 13 years of Williams’s excellent columns are archived here at JewishWorldReview.com.

Graph of the Day: Oblivion, or Paul Ryan’s Pathway to Prosperity?

Filed under: Economy,Taxes & Government — Tom @ 9:19 am

Pretty obvious choice, in a sane world:


The status quo is even worse than indicated.

In something I’ve learned in being associated with the Pajamas Media National Economic Rescue Initiative project, the “status quo” scenario naively assumes, as dictated to the Congressional Budget Office by Congress, that interest rates paid by the federal government will remain risk-free (i.e., they will stay very low) even if debt as a percentage of national output gets out of control. As we’ve seen with Greece, Portugal, and other countries, that isn’t the case, and it wouldn’t be the case with us either. So the Status Quo portion of the graph is even steeper than indicated.

This is a graph you will never see in the establishment press. It should be leading the news every night.

Here are portions of Paul Ryan’s Wall Street Journal op-ed:

… this morning the new House Republican majority will introduce a budget that moves the debate from billions in spending cuts to trillions. America is facing a defining moment. The threat posed by our monumental debt will damage our country in profound ways, unless we act.

No one person or party is responsible for the looming crisis. Yet the facts are clear: Since President Obama took office, our problems have gotten worse. Major spending increases have failed to deliver promised jobs. The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams. Government health and retirement programs are growing at unsustainable rates. The new health-care law is a fiscal train wreck. And a complex, inefficient tax code is holding back American families and businesses.

The president’s recent budget proposal would accelerate America’s descent into a debt crisis. It doubles debt held by the public by the end of his first term and triples it by 2021. It imposes $1.5 trillion in new taxes, with spending that never falls below 23% of the economy. His budget permanently enlarges the size of government. It offers no reforms to save government health and retirement programs, and no leadership.

Our budget, which we call The Path to Prosperity, is very different. For starters, it cuts $6.2 trillion in spending from the president’s budget over the next 10 years, reduces the debt as a percentage of the economy, and puts the nation on a path to actually pay off our national debt.

… Here are its major components:

• Reducing spending: This budget proposes to bring spending on domestic government agencies to below 2008 levels, and it freezes this category of spending for five years. …

• Welfare reform: This budget will build upon the historic welfare reforms of the late 1990s by converting the federal share of Medicaid spending into a block grant that lets states create a range of options and gives Medicaid patients access to better care. It proposes similar reforms to the food-stamp program, ending the flawed incentive structure that rewards states for adding to the rolls. …

• Health and retirement security: … Starting in 2022, new Medicare beneficiaries will be enrolled in the same kind of health-care program that members of Congress enjoy. Future Medicare recipients will be able to choose a plan that works best for them from a list of guaranteed coverage options. …

• Budget enforcement: This budget recognizes that it is not enough to change how much government spends. We must also change how government spends. It proposes budget-process reforms—including real, enforceable caps on spending—to make sure government spends and taxes only as much as it needs to fulfill its constitutionally prescribed roles. …

• Tax reform: This budget would focus on growth by reforming the nation’s outdated tax code, consolidating brackets, lowering tax rates, and assuming top individual and corporate rates of 25%.

… This is America’s moment to advance a plan for prosperity. Our budget offers the nation a model of government that is guided by the timeless principles of the American idea: free-market democracy, open competition, a robust private sector bound by rules of honesty and fairness, a secure safety net, and equal opportunity for all under a limited constitutional government of popular consent.

Ryan’s green area represents the path of liberty. The status quo line is an inexorable path to tyranny. What I characterized in mid-February as “Obama’s Unsustainable and Gutless Budget Proposals” represents an inevitable de facto embrace of tyranny.

Positivity: Students form bond with soldiers serving overseas

Filed under: Positivity — Tom @ 5:57 am

From Indianapolis:

Apr 3, 2011 / 05:02 pm

Rena Becher knows there are moments in life when a simple gesture that says “I’m thinking of you” can forge an immediate bond between people.

As proof, she refers to the special thank you letters that American soldiers serving overseas have sent to the fifth-grade students at St. Simon the Apostle School in Indianapolis.

The fifth-grade teacher mentions how quiet her students become when she reads them one of the letters, such as this one from an American soldier serving in Afghanistan, who had received a “care package” that the children had helped to make.

“Sitting in our small slice of heaven in Afghanistan, it started to be a looming notion that the holidays were all just going to meld into our daily routine,” the soldier wrote. “When our chaplain came down with your packages though, it moved me. Many a day I will catch flashes of news during chow and see such a distaste for this war that it makes me feel more than a little dissension toward us soldiers that have to fight it.

“However, the packages we received gave me renewed faith and a happiness that I truly haven’t felt since I was a child. The gifts you send us aren’t of candy, but of love and hope, which are truly what we needed. I could never tell you how much it means to us.”

The soldier signed his name under the words, “From the bottom of my heart, my deepest regards.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.