Unemployment Rises in January

The January jobs report, released this morning by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), was disappointing all the way around.  Nonfarm jobs fell to 157,000 from the December upwardly-revised reading of 196,000.  Private sector jobs rose by 166,000 – short of the consensus forecast of 185,000. 

Unemployment rose by 0.1% to 7.9%.  (If the government was being honest about it, the unemployment rate actually rose to 10.5%.  If they were really, really honest about it, unemployment actually rose to 18.7%.)  The average workweek fell by 0.1 hours.  Per capita employment edged down slightly for the third month in a row – the first time that’s happened since November, 2010 when the economy was still struggling to emerge from the recession. 

On Wednesday, we learned that GDP actually contracted in the 4th quarter.  Economists shrugged it off, attributing it to a one-off plunge in defense spending.  But today’s report may begin to corroborate that the economy is, in fact, struggling once again. 

Here’s the charts of the employment data I’ve been tracking:  Unemployment Chart, Labor Force & Employment Level, Unemployed Americans, Per Capita Employment.  These four charts paint a picture of an economy that’s been stalled for the past few months.  Factor in Wednesday’s GDP report and you have an economy teetering on the brink of recession. 

Not a surprise.  As President Obama pointed out early in his administration, resuscitating American manufacturing is the key to putting the economy back on solid footing.  But here’s an excerpt from today’s report:

Manufacturing employment was essentially unchanged in January and has changed little, on net, since July 2012.

Why should it have changed?  Obama has done absolutely nothing to fix the trade policy that has largely destroyed the manufacturing sector of the economy.  He promised he would, but it was a lie. 

This stubbornly high rate of unemployment is exactly what one would expect when you understand the role our growing population has in eroding per capita consumption (and, with it, per capita employment) and the role that attempting to trade freely with badly overpopulated nations has in fueling our trade deficit. 

* * * * *

Here’s a breakdown of the change in employment reported this morning by the BLS:

  • Retail trade:  + 33,000
  • Construction:  + 28,000
  • Health care:  + 23,000
  • Wholesale trade:  + 15,000
  • Mining:  + 6,000
  • Manufacturing:  no change
  • Financial activities:  no change
  • Professional & business services:  no change
  • Leisure & hospitality:  no change
  • Government:  no change
  • Transportation & warehousing:  – 14,000

 

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