Digby's Hullabaloo
2801 Ocean Park Blvd.
Box 157
Santa Monica, Ca 90405

Facebook: Digby Parton

@BloggersRUs (Tom Sullivan)

thedigbyblog at gmail
satniteflix at gmail
publius.gaius at gmail
tpostsully at gmail
Spockosbrain at gmail
Richardein at me.com


Mother Jones
Raw Story
Huffington Post
Crooks and Liars
American Prospect
New Republic

Denofcinema.com: Saturday Night at the Movies by Dennis Hartley review archive

January 2003 February 2003 March 2003 April 2003 May 2003 June 2003 July 2003 August 2003 September 2003 October 2003 November 2003 December 2003 January 2004 February 2004 March 2004 April 2004 May 2004 June 2004 July 2004 August 2004 September 2004 October 2004 November 2004 December 2004 January 2005 February 2005 March 2005 April 2005 May 2005 June 2005 July 2005 August 2005 September 2005 October 2005 November 2005 December 2005 January 2006 February 2006 March 2006 April 2006 May 2006 June 2006 July 2006 August 2006 September 2006 October 2006 November 2006 December 2006 January 2007 February 2007 March 2007 April 2007 May 2007 June 2007 July 2007 August 2007 September 2007 October 2007 November 2007 December 2007 January 2008 February 2008 March 2008 April 2008 May 2008 June 2008 July 2008 August 2008 September 2008 October 2008 November 2008 December 2008 January 2009 February 2009 March 2009 April 2009 May 2009 June 2009 July 2009 August 2009 September 2009 October 2009 November 2009 December 2009 January 2010 February 2010 March 2010 April 2010 May 2010 June 2010 July 2010 August 2010 September 2010 October 2010 November 2010 December 2010 January 2011 February 2011 March 2011 April 2011 May 2011 June 2011 July 2011 August 2011 September 2011 October 2011 November 2011 December 2011 January 2012 February 2012 March 2012 April 2012 May 2012 June 2012 July 2012 August 2012 September 2012 October 2012 November 2012 December 2012 January 2013 February 2013 March 2013 April 2013 May 2013 June 2013 July 2013 August 2013 September 2013 October 2013 November 2013 December 2013 January 2014 February 2014 March 2014 April 2014 May 2014 June 2014 July 2014 August 2014 September 2014 October 2014 November 2014 December 2014 January 2015 February 2015 March 2015 April 2015 May 2015 June 2015 July 2015 August 2015 September 2015 October 2015 November 2015 December 2015 January 2016 February 2016 March 2016 April 2016 May 2016 June 2016 July 2016 August 2016 September 2016 October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 January 2017 February 2017 March 2017 April 2017 May 2017 June 2017 July 2017 August 2017 September 2017 October 2017 November 2017 December 2017 January 2018 February 2018 March 2018 April 2018 May 2018


This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?


Saturday, May 05, 2018


But are people better off?

by Tom Sullivan

The official unemployment rate has dropped below 4 percent for the first time in 17 years. There have been 91 straight months of job growth for which Donald Trump will take credit after sitting in the White House for fifteen. The Trump administration boasts (what else?) that 900,000 people have returned to the labor force since Trump's inauguration and that black unemployment sits at a historic low (meaning since 1994): 6.6 percent in April. Bloomberg reports that figure has been falling at the same rate for the last six years before Trump came to office. Perhaps he gets a little credit for extending it, writes Justin Fox:

Still, back before he was elected in November 2016, Trump repeatedly argued that the unemployment rate was a flawed measure because it ignored those who had stopped looking for work. He had a point. Only those who tell government survey takers that they’ve looked for a job in the past four weeks are counted as unemployed, and the percentage of Americans of working age who neither have jobs nor are actively looking for them has risen a lot over the past couple of decades. Another, possibly better way to gauge the health of the labor market over time, then, is to look at the employment-population ratio for those ages 25 through 54, what is known as prime working age.

The data series in this case only go back to 1994, and they’re not seasonally adjusted, so the lines jump around a bit. But the story they tell is still pretty clear: These aren’t the best of labor-market times for blacks, or for anybody else.
Black unemployment is still higher then the rate for other groups. The unemployment rate was 2.7 percent for Asian-Americans, 3.6 percent for whites and 4.8 percent for Hispanics. Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, finds the figures "shocking":
Morial, who served as the mayor of New Orleans from 1992 to 1998, also pointed out that nearly two-thirds of all wealth is intergenerational.

The median household income, he said, is lowest among African-Americans. In 2018, the median income for black Americans is $38,555, compared with $63,155 in white families. Hispanic households have a median income of $46,882.

Morial also pointed out the gap in employment among African-Americans in the technology sector. Black Americans make up just 6.6 percent of the workforce in U.S. technology companies.

The 2016 Equal Employment Opportunity report, filed by Google, Facebook and Twitter, showed that in the combined workforce of 41,000 employees, only 1.8 percent, or 758 employees, were black.
But as the rates fall, are people feeling better off?

The New York Times reports that wages have not gone up as the labor market has tightened. In part, perhaps, because workforce participation has slipped:
The population is also older than they used to be, on balance. The baby-boom generation has moved steadily toward retirement over the last two decades. And those still working have not helped push wages up. Generally, workers climb the economic ladder fastest when they are young, and so an older work force may weigh on average wages, economists say.

In 2000, wages for rank-and-file workers rose at an annual rate of around 4 percent. Part of the problem now is that some 60 percent of the jobs added since 2010 have been in low-wage, service-sector jobs, according to Morgan Stanley.

Fifty years ago, there were plenty of factory jobs paying a decent wage, and unions held much greater sway. Manufacturing accounted for one in four jobs; today it’s not even one in 10.
The push for a $15/hr minimum wage struggles against the gig economy, but that is for entry-level and service-economy jobs. The job market is expanding for minimum-wage jobs in warehouses that ship goods purchased online as well as in call centers "to deal with consumers’ complaints about the gadgets they ordered online."

Paul Krugman observes that employers don't feel they can cut jobs even when the economy sours. He theorizes this makes them reluctant to raise salaries during an upturn "because they know they’ll be stuck with those wages if the economy turns bad again." All of which is academic for people struggling to pay their bills.

One thing of which we can be certain, no matter how low the official rate goes, no matter how much employers complain they cannot find workers, no matter how much Trump crows about low black unemployment, his colleagues will vilify those needing public assistance as good-for-nothing losers ... whether or not they have jobs. To keep it they will demand the unemployed work harder to find jobs where there are none, even as they demand more government largess for their friends.

* * * * * * * *

For The Win 2018 is ready for download. Request a copy of my county-level election mechanics primer at tom.bluecentury at gmail.