Friday, June 04, 2004

Economy Report
Jobs report is being hailed by both sides as very positive:
"The May tally by the Labor Department exceeded Wall Street's expectations for 216,000 new jobs and followed an upwardly revised total of 346,000 jobs in April and 353,000 in March."
I have to admit I'm surprised that the turn around has seemed to look for real. But Pete Stark reminds us that there is still a job deficit over the last couple of years, and there are plenty of symptoms indicating a tough time for workers, and those looking for work, if you take a longer view (pdf file):
"The prolonged labor market slump has taken its toll on workers’ earnings. Since the first quarter of 2001, aggregate wages and benefits have risen by just 8 percent. Profits, by contrast, have grown by 61 percent.

Overall, there are 8.2 million unemployed Americans, and about 4.7 million additional workers who want a job but are not counted among the unemployed. An additional 4.7 million people work part-time because of the weak economy. The unemployment rate would be nearly 10 percent if the figure included those who want to work but are not counted among the unemployed and those who are forced to work part-time because of the weak economy.

More than one in every five unemployed people – 1.8 million Americans – has been jobless for more than 26 weeks. The average spell of unemployment is 20 weeks, and remains at a level not seen since early 1984."
Republicans are using the short-view good news to justify a refusal to extend unemployment benefits. But the unemployment rate remains at 5.6% clearly there are many, many willing and able people who are unable to find work.

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