By Ed Rogers July 3 at 6:11 PM
The headline of today’s jobs report, that 288,000 jobs were created in the last month, is positive. At least, it is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick. However, as with most economic reports these days, there is a veneer of good news — but when you look closer, the White House is using the positive headlines to hide the growing deterioration of the American workforce. I’m sure by now people are tired of reading about the bad news, and I’ll admit I am weary of having to blow the whistle and expose the truth every time this White House pats itself on the back about this or that piece of economic data. Anyway, here we go again.
Last month, 523,000 full-time jobs were lost, while 799,000 part-time jobs were added. Another way of looking at these numbers is that almost all of the 288,000 jobs created last month were just part-time positions. And remember, not even that would happen if President Obama got his way and raised the minimum wage during this anemic recovery.
We need more robust job growth in this country, but, specifically, we need good, well-paying, full-time jobs. Right now, only 47.7 percent of adults in America are working full-time. Losing more than half a million full-time jobs in one month is not indicative of a strong, growing economy. It’s a red light flashing on the nation’s dashboard.
The White House undoubtedly will want to celebrate the slight drop in the unemployment rate to 6.1 percent. But again, this number is not a cause for celebration. Teenage unemployment went up by 1.8 percent last month, to a 21 percent unemployment rate. Why would teenage unemployment be so high when teens are out of school and traditionally getting summer jobs? Well, because adults are dependent on the low-wage, part-time jobs these teenagers would normally fill. And that’s not good for the economy or for our society.
And there’s other troubling data. The average number of hours worked per week remained stagnant for the fourth month in a row. The labor force participation rate is still only 62.8 percent — the same rate as March 1978, during the Carter-era stagflation. And in the past year, 2.4 million Americans dropped out of the workforce altogether.
There should be authentic benefits for the nation when we add to the workforce, but not when the unemployment rate artificially declines because Americans are dropping out of the workforce or relying on part-time jobs because that is all the Obama economy can produce. After all, the unemployment rate would be zero if everyone just quit looking for work.
Is this the future of the American workforce? It’s getting too late for President Obama to do any good for the American economy. We are seeing more part-time jobs because employers can’t afford to pay the Obamacare premiums for employees who work more than 30 hours a week. How many Americans will leave the workforce for good? How much lower will the labor force participation rate drop? In other words, how much more dependency will the Obama presidency create?
We need a real economic recovery. President Obama won’t admit that his policies have stifled growth, and therefore there is no chance of an urgent course correction that could put us on a pro-growth path. It just won’t happen under Obama; 2016 can’t get here fast enough.