May 4, 2013

National Journal’s Report on Missing Workers Misstates History of Labor Force Participation Decline

Give Nancy Cook at credit for a generally well-written though somewhat naive report (“Forget the Unemployment Rate: The Alarming Stat Is the Number of ‘Missing Workers’”) on the unprecedented plight of the millions of adults who have dropped out of the labor force.

But in discussing the “glaring caveat” in Friday’s employment report from the government, namely that “the ‘labor force participation rate’ held steady in April at 63.3 percent—the lowest level since 1979,” she missed a major source of the rise in the rate to a record level in the late-1990s. She also left readers otherwise unaware of the actual history with the impression that the rate has been “on a gradual decline” since then, which simply is not the case.


IBD on April’s Jobs Report: We’re Still 10 Million Jobs Short of Where We Should Be

Investor’s Business Daily editorialists aren’t impressed with Friday’s jobs report, nor should they be, and they tell us why.

In short, there should be almost 10 million more people working than are working (really more than 10 million after considering population growth) :

The share of working-age Americans with jobs — 58.6% — has barely budged since the bottom of the recession, and we’re still some 2 million jobs short of pre-recession levels. This is unique in post-World War II history. At this point in every other recovery, the job losses had long since been erased. On average, payrolls were 7.6 million above the pre-recession peak.

This is a serious problem at the grass roots, among job seekers and businesses that need a fully employed, well-paid middle class to fuel demand for their products and services. Main Street, in short.

Wall Street has a different take — and we say that simply to state a fact, not to make a moral distinction. Its fortunes rise or fall with the demand for financial assets, which may have a connection to the health of the broader economy.

Right now the stock market is riding a valuation wave generated by corporate earnings and monetary easing by the Federal Reserve. Profits can rise without much job creation — in fact, cutting jobs is one way to boost the bottom line when sales growth is sluggish.

And the Fed is, if anything, job-contrarian.

It has announced it will stop easing once unemployment falls to 6.5%. When that happens, stocks will start losing the crutch of ultralow interest rates that are putting competing investments, such as bonds and CDs, at such a disadvantage.

From the stock market’s point of view, Friday’s report was just the right level of mediocrity. It showed the economy wasn’t tanking, so companies can still make good money. And it showed the job market wasn’t likely to cross the Fed’s red line soon.

We certainly can’t complain when the stock market makes investors richer. But it’s hard not to see the irony when Wall Street showers its blessings on an administration that is hardly a friend to free-market capitalism.

When the Dow is up, it makes the party in power look good. It also draws attention away from the widespread economic pain that you don’t see on CNBC.

The Obama White House can talk all it wants about its commitment to a thriving middle class, but if the media ignore the real plight of the middle class and focus on the Dow, well, that works for it, too.

Related, at the Economic Collapse Blog: “They Are Murdering Small Business: The Percentage Of Self-Employed Americans Is At A Record Low”

Saturday Off-Topic (Moderated) Open Thread (050413)

Filed under: Lucid Links — Tom @ 6:05 am

Rules are here. Possible comment fodder may follow later. Other topics are also fair game.

Positivity: Obama’s Planned Parenthood claims rejected by former employee

Filed under: Life-Based News,Positivity — Tom @ 6:00 am

From Washington:

May 1, 2013 / 04:05 am

Although President Barack Obama told a Planned Parenthood conference last week that abortion opponents are stuck in the past, former clinic manager Abby Johnson says the youth of the pro-life movement suggests otherwise.

“We’ve seen the pro-life movement gaining. We see the abortion movement declining,” Johnson told CNA April 30.

She suggested that the president may not know those who are in the pro-life movement, such as members of Students for Life of America or the youthful pro-life investigative reporting group Live Action.

“We’re full of young people,” she added. “I think he would be surprised to learn who is really leading up the pro-life movement and what we’re really about.”

Johnson is a former manager of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Bryan, Texas, who left her job in 2009 after witnessing an abortion live via ultrasound. She now encourages abortion clinic workers to leave their jobs through her organization, And Then There Were None.

She commented on Obama’s April 26 remarks delivered to almost 1,000 supporters of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America at a Washington, D.C., hotel. Obama is the first sitting president to address the organization which performs about 300,000 abortions each year.

“It’s disappointing that a president would make an address to our country’s largest abortion provider, but it’s not surprising at all,” Johnson said, adding that the president is politically dependent on abortion supporting donors and abortion providers like Planned Parenthood.

In his address, Obama described the pro-life movement as backward-looking and suited to the 1950s. He said Planned Parenthood is dedicated to the principle that “women should be allowed to make their own decisions about their own health.”

However, Johnson contended that it is the abortion industry that is waning.

“The abortion numbers are declining nationally,” she said. “We see clinics closing, Planned Parenthood affiliates closing. Many affiliates are having to merge for financial reasons.”

She also rejected the president’s contention that Planned Parenthood is dedicated to women’s health.

“They’ve shown time and time again that their motivation is pushing abortion and selling abortion to women who knock on their doors.” …

Go here for the rest of the story.