Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

Obama’s unemployment: 11,472,000 Americans left the workforce since January 2009

CNS News reports.

Excerpt:

11.4 million Americans age 16 and over have left the workforce since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

In July 2014, there were 92,001,000 Americans, 16 and over, who were classified as “not in the labor force,” meaning they not only did not have a job, but they didn’t actively seek one in the last four weeks.

This number has increased by 11,472,000 since January 2009, when the number of Americans not in the labor force was 80,529,000.

The number of Americans not in the labor force dropped slightly in July, down 119,000 from the 92,120,000 Americans not in the labor force in June.

The participation rate, which measures the percentage of the civilian non-institutional population that participated in the labor force by either having a job or actively seeking one, increased from 62.8 percent in June to 62.9 percent in July.

In July, the number of unemployed Americans increased by 197,000 (from 9,474,000 in June to 9,671,000 in July), meaning they did not have a job even though they were actively seeking one.

While the number of unemployed increased in July, so did the number of employed Americans: In June, there were 146,221,000 employed Americans, and that number climbed to 146,352,000 in July, a one-month increase of 131,000.

By contrast, George W. Bush created 8.1 million jobs after his 2003 tax cut.

Excerpt:

Obama and other critics of Bush’s tax cuts argue that they did little to boost economic growth or jobs. But they tend to start their count when Bush signed the first tax cut bill into law in mid-2001.

The problem is that much of that tax plan — including reductions to most of the income tax brackets — wasn’t scheduled to take full effect until 2006.

Bush’s second tax cut, signed in May 2003, accelerated those tax cuts, letting them kick in retroactively to the beginning of that year. The 2003 law also cut taxes on capital gains and dividends.

It turns out that the month after Bush signed that 2003 law, jobs and the economy finally started growing again.

From June 2003 to December 2007, the economy added 8.1 million jobs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate fell to 5% from 6.3%. Real GDP growth averaged close to 3% in the four-plus years after that, and the budget deficit fell steadily from 2004 to 2007.

And despite Obama’s claim, Bush’s policies did not increase income inequality. In fact, inequality was the same when Bush left office as when he came in, according to theCensus Bureau. A study by University of California economist Emmanuel Saez found that inequality has climbed much faster under Obama.

What’s more, the rich ended up paying a larger chunk of the federal income tax burden after Bush’s tax cuts went into effect, with the share paid by the top 1% rising to 40% by 2007, up from 37% the year before Bush took office, according to IRS data.

The Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, found that the federal income tax was more progressive in 2007 than it was back in 1979.

Recall that these tax cuts didn’t cost us a thing – the 2007 deficit was $160 billion dollars, which was down from the previous year. Economic growth raised tax revenues.

When you let job creators keep more of their own money, they create jobs. When you tax and regulate job creators more, you destroy jobs. You can’t argue with the Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers. These are the official numbers and they show that Obama failed where Bush succeeded.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Young people who voted for Obama are holding fewer and fewer jobs

Youth labor force participation

Youth labor force participation

Stephen Moore writes about Investors Business Daily.

Excerpt:

Economists are scratching their heads trying to figure out a puzzle in this recovery: Why are young people not working? People retiring at age 60 or even 55 in a weak economy is easy to understand. But at 25?

The percentage of adult Americans who are working or looking for work now stands at 62.8%, a 36-year low and down more than 3 percentage points since late 2007, according to the Labor Department’s May employment report.

This is fairly well-known. What isn’t so well-known is that a major reason for the decline is that fewer and fewer young people are holding jobs. This exit from the workforce by the young is counter to the conventional wisdom or the Obama administration’s official line.

The White House claims the workforce is contracting because more baby boomers are retiring. There’s some truth to that. About 10,000 boomers retire every day of the workweek, so that’s clearly depressing the labor market. Since 2009, 7 million Americans have reached official retirement age. The problem will get worse in the years to come as nearly 80 million boomers hit age 65.

But that trend tells only part of the story. The chart above shows the real problem: The largest decline in workforce participation has been those under 25.

[...]We do no favors to the young by teaching them that they can consume or have a good time without first earning the money they spend.

I think young people are often brainwashed at a young age to think that bashing the free enterprise system and voting for socialism isn’t going to take away their jobs. But if you vote to tax and regulate the businesses who may employ you later, you’ll find that they are too busy groaning under the strain of big government to employ you.

If young people were serious about getting jobs, they’d be voting to cut subsidies on universities to lower tuition costs, to lower corporate taxes, to cut environmental regulations, to repeal Obamacare, and so on. They would be more concerned that schools teach them actual skills instead of politically correct views, and so they would be voting for school choice and for right-to-work laws, to weaken the teacher unions who are not accountable to them. They should be voting against the minimum wage hikes that will price them out of an all-important first job. They should be voting against the (more than) doubling of the national debt in the 5.5 years under Obama. Job offers are not just there independent of the legal and economic environment. And just reaching a certain age doesn’t mean that you are qualified for a job.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , ,

Only 74,000 jobs added in December, lowest in 3 years

Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%

Labor Force Participation down to 62.8%

CNS News reports on the disappointing job numbers.

Excerpt:

The economy added only 74,000 non-farm jobs in December, the fewest in three years. Yet the unemployment rate dropped 0.3 points to 6.7 percent — the first time in 60 months it has dropped below 7 percent, the Labor Department announced on Friday.

With so few jobs added, the jobless rate still went down because people stopped looking for work.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the number of unemployed persons declined by 490,000 to 10.4 million in December, indicating that many of them dropped out of the labor force.

The government counts people as unemployed only if they are actively searching for work.

[...]In 2013, job growth averaged 182,000 per month, about the same as in 2012, when it averaged 183,000 a month.

I am thinking about whether the Obama administration has done anything in the last 5 years to create any jobs. I know they could have suspended the employer portion of payroll taxes. They didn’t do that. They could have allowed the Keystone XL pipeline. They didn’t do that. They could have repealed Obamacare so that employers didn’t have to reduce worker hours to avoid having to pay penalties. They didn’t do that. They could have stopped borrowing over a trillion dollars a year. They didn’t do that.

So I am just wondering what exactly this government has done to create jobs. I know the economy is resilient, and some jobs get created every month, no matter what. But I would like someone to tell me how this government has encouraged the private sector to hire more workers. I think if they had done anything to specifically address jobs, then I would know about it.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Which policies have caused our low labor force participation rate?

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Jay Richards tweeted this article from the Wall Street Journal. The article is an interview with a business owner named Bob Funk whose job it is to match job seekers to job creators.

Hiring is down because of increased regulation of employers and fear of interventionism:

Here’s something you don’t often see in Washington: a businessman trying to repeal a law that helps his company. That’s Bob Funk’s latest mission in life. He’s the president and founder of Express Employment Services, the fifth-largest employment agency in America, with annual sales of $2.5 billion and more than 600 franchises across the country. This year he will place nearly half a million workers in jobs.

“ObamaCare has been an absolute boon for my business,” he says as we sit in his new office headquarters near downtown Oklahoma City. “I’m making a lot of money thanks to that law. We’re up 8% this year. But it’s just terrible for the country. I see that firsthand every day.”

Why is the health-care law good for Express but bad for the country? “Firms are just very reluctant to hire full-time workers,” Mr. Funk says. “So they are taking on more temporary help, which is what we do.” ObamaCare imposes new mandates and penalties on companies with more than 50 full-time employees—and even those working 30 hours a week are considered full-time.

He quickly adds: “The problem isn’t just ObamaCare, though. It’s the entire regulatory assault on employers coming out of Washington—everything from the EEOC”—the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission hits companies hard when employees claim age, race or sex discrimination—”to the Dodd-Frank monstrosity. Employers are living in a state of fear.”

So let’s take a look at what is causing a record low labor force participation rate.

The younger generation does not have a good work ethic:

The primary jobs problem today, Mr. Funk says, is that too many workers are functionally unemployable because of attitude, behavior or lack of the most basic work skills. One discouraging statistic is that only about one of six workers who comes to Express seeking employment makes the cut. He recites a company statistic that about one in four applicants can’t even pass a drug test.

“In my 40-some years in this business, the biggest change I’ve witnessed is the erosion of the American work ethic. It just isn’t there today like it used to be,” Mr. Funk says. Asked to define “work ethic,” he replies that it’s fairly simple but vital on-the-job behavior, such as showing up on time, being conscientious and productive in every task, showing a willingness to get your hands dirty and at times working extra hours. These attributes are essential, he says, because if low-level employees show a willingness to work hard, “most employers will gladly train them with the skills to fill higher-paying jobs.”

He fears that too many of the young millennials who come knocking on his door view a paycheck as a kind of entitlement, not something to be earned. He is also concerned that the trendy concept of “life-balancing” is putting work second behind leisure.

Welfare spending discourages people from working:

When pressed to explain what Washington can do to get Americans back on the job, Mr. Funk says the first step would be to start shrinking the “vast social welfare state programs that have become a substitute for work. There’s a prevalent attitude of a lot of this generation of workers that the government will always be there to take care of them. It’s hard to get people to take entry-level jobs when they can get unemployment benefits, health care, food stamps and the rest.”

This week during the food-stamp debate in Congress, Democrats voted unanimously against work requirements and ridiculed Republicans who suggested that the expansion of food stamps to 47 million Americans has discouraged working. The Democrats are living in a fantasy world, according to Mr. Funk. He points to Congress’s decision in 2009 to increase unemployment-insurance benefits to 90 weeks or more as “a policy that held a lot of people out of the workforce until the checks stopped coming. We saw that here very clearly.”

Disability makes people less inclined to get a job:

The most abused government program, he says, is disability insurance and the 14 million Americans who now collect these benefits. Express has found that over half of the disability claims brought by its workers have turned out to be fraudulent. “We win 90% of the disability cases that we challenge in court,” Mr. Funk says.

Skills deficit makes people less employable:

Another big hurdle is the widening skills deficit. At any given time, Mr. Funk says, Express has as many as 20,000 jobs the company can’t fill because workers don’t have the skills required. His advice to young people who are looking for a solid career is to get training in accounting (thanks to Dodd-Frank’s huge expansion of paperwork), information technology, manufacturing-robotics programming, welding and engineering. He’s mystified why Express has so much trouble filling thousands of information-technology jobs when so many young, working-age adults are computer literate.

Public schools and universities don’t prepare people for work:

He blames public schools and universities for the skills mismatch. Young people looking for a financially secure future might want to heed one of his favorite pieces of cautionary advice: “If you’ve got a college degree in psych, poly-sci or sociology, sorry, I can’t help you find a job.” He urges greater emphasis on vocational and practical skills training in schools, universities and junior colleges.

With so many ideas about how to help get the country on track, Mr. Funk might seem ripe to enter politics, but he already made one electoral foray—he was a local school-board member for 11 years—and found it an exercise in pure frustration. Bringing his pay-for-performance values to the board, he spent years futilely trying to get rid of bad teachers and to reward “the 30% that are really good.”

He says “teacher tenure is by far the most corrupt social institution in our time, because it doesn’t reward excellence or weed out bad teachers.” The teachers union had operational control of the school board, and Mr. Funk couldn’t get them to budge. He says the union celebrated when he left the board.

I think that this shows the important of having private sector experience in a President. When you are looking to hire a President, you want to hire someone who has already done what he claims he wants to do, at a smaller level. If you want someone to fix health care, pick someone like Bobby Jindal who has already done it in his state. If you want someone to make schools accountable, pick Scott Walker. If you want someone to cut spending, pick Rick Scott. If you want someone to create jobs, pick Rick Perry. If you want someone to balance the budget, pick John Kasich. Pick a candidate who can do the work. Not someone who passionately speaks about how he wants to do the work. Pick someone who has been fabulously successful at actually doing what he says he wants to do.

Our current President knew nothing about running a business or how jobs are created when he was elected. He was just a community organizer. Never did a thing in the private sector. Maybe he could get lucky at making policies that would create jobs, but “lucky” our best option? Next time, let’s not take chances. Pick someone who has proved that he can do the work based on past performance. Not speeches.

Filed under: News, , , , , , ,

Labor Force Participation hits 34-year record low

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Labor Force Participation Rate from 2007 (Pelosi/Reid) to 2013

Power Line blog reports on a disturbing new white paper about unemployment in America.

Excerpt:

A comprehensive disaster like the Obama administration can’t be summed up in one statistic, but the one that comes closest is labor force participation. The combined effect of many misguided policies–Obamacare, ballooning spending, massive debt, tax increases, subsidizing of inefficient energy, anti-growth regulation, encouragement of food stamp fraud, and many more–has been to drive many millions of Americans out of the labor force. Express Employment Professionals has produced a white paper that illuminates this human tragedy:

The labor force participation rate is currently at a level not seen since the 1970s – 63.4 percent.

While the unemployment rate has steadily decreased from its high of 10.0 percent in October of 2009 to 7.4 percent in July of 2013, the percentage of Americans in the labor force has not risen. It has fallen about 2.7 percentage points since the onset of the latest recession.

This is a tragedy in the making, and its impact on the country has been underestimated. When Americans quit looking for work because they conclude not working beats working, America faces a significant problem.

[...]President Obama’s policies have devastated all age groups, but the most heartbreaking impact is on the young:

Gallup reports that, “The lack of new hiring over the past several years…seems to have disproportionately reduced younger Americans’ ability to obtain full-time jobs.”

According to Gallup’s “Payroll to Population” measure, fewer Millennials were working full time in June of 2013 than in June of 2012, 2011, or 2010.

A recent 2012 Pew Research Center study found that 36 percent of the nation’s Millennials were still living with their parents.

And massive growth in the number of people collecting disability, too:

Fourteen million Americans on disability–that is more than the populations of Wyoming, Vermont, North Dakota, Alaska, South Dakota, Delaware, Rhode Island, Montana, New Hampshire, Maine, Hawaii, Idaho and West Virginia, combined: every man, woman and child in 13 states. The exploding ranks of the “disabled” are due to the absence of jobs in Barack Obama’s economy.

Keep in mind that we are blowing through over a trillion dollars in deficits for EACH of Obama’s 4 years in office. Shouldn’t we be getting a higher level of labor force participation? If you took out a loan to expand your business, you would certainly expect to be able to hire more people and get more sales and make more products, wouldn’t you? But it seems as if we took out a HUGE loan as a nation and we are actually contracting our business.

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