Tag Archives: joblessness

Jobs piling up, unemployment low … huh?

The U.S. Labor Department each month gives us a snapshot of where the nation’s economy stands. It comes in the form of its jobs report.

What did the Labor stats show us this month? Oh, that private non-farm employers added 428,000 more Americans to their payrolls and that joblessness remains at 3.6%, or at the same level it stood prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

Still, and this just baffles me to the point of confusion: President Biden keeps getting pilloried because the economy — according to the critics — is “in the tank.”

Is it? Not really. Actually, the economy is humming along fairly well.

Now, I will acknowledge the obvious “elephant in the room,” which would be inflation. I don’t like paying more for eggs, bread, milk, veggies and meat any more than the next red-blooded American. Nor do I like shelling out huge piles of dough for motor fuel. Is that totally within the president’s control? No. It isn’t even close.

We have this war erupting in Ukraine, which produces a lot of the world’s grain. Russian oil has been all but cut off from the rest of the world. Demand for all of that is high; supply is low. Hmm. High demand and low supply? What does that mean? We pay more for goods and commodities.

Biden is trying to help stem the rise in fuel prices by ordering the tapping of the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. He wants the SPR to ship 1 million barrels of crude oil each day for six months to help boost the supply of oil.

I am not going to criticize the president’s handling of the economy. He was dealt a bad hand when he took office in January 2021. The pandemic crippled the so-called “supply chain.” We are working our way through that crisis.

Meanwhile, we keep adding hundreds of thousands of jobs each month and the unemployment rate remains just about at rock bottom.

What in the name of realism is wrong with that?


Still pulling for POTUS

No one who reads this blog regularly will be surprised to read that I want President Joe Biden to succeed as he trudges through his term in office. I hope it is just his first term … but that remains an open question, to be crystal clear.

I am not going to presume that the president will even seek a second term, let alone that he’ll win election to another four years in the White House.

He came into office promising to (a) end the pandemic, (b) restore the “soul of the nation” and (c) get our economy moving again. I am going to give the president credit for achieving one of those ambitious goals and part of another one.

The economy is stronger than many of us seem to believe it is. Polling suggests Americans remain concerned about the economic track we’re on. I am unclear as to why there remains such uncertainty and angst. I know about inflationary pressures; we’re feeling them in our North Texas home, too. The job numbers continue to sparkle, unemployment continues to decline and we’re buying more goods and services.

The national soul restoration remains a work in progress. Sadly, we’re still being infected with disinformation peddled by Biden’s immediate predecessor. The Big Lie still has legs, although most of its limbs have been cut off by the judicial system that keeps undercutting POTUS 45’s efforts to undermine the integrity of our electoral system. Biden, though, has sought to return the United States to its role as leader of alliances and protector of civil liberties around the world. He’s done well in that regard, dispensing with the gratuitous criticism of our allies.

Yes, the pandemic remains a problem. But its drag on our national psyche is dwindling right along with the infection rates, the hospitalizations and the deaths from COVID infection. States are relaxing their mandates on masks and other precautions. I am not heeding Texas’s relaxation efforts. We are still masking up and are still keeping our distance from those we do not know.

I am continuing to pull for President Biden to keep up the fight and to score more successes as he moves along through his term. You know already he wasn’t my first choice to defeat the man who held the office for four previous years. Then he became the Democratic Party nominee in 2020 … and I was all in.

I remain all in. Keep the faith, Mr. President.


Is our grumpiness terminal?

The thought just occurred to me.

Could it be that we have entered a period of terminal grumpiness, that our dissatisfaction with government is a carryover that cannot be shaken loose no matter how well our politicians are functioning in the moment?

I see that President Biden’s job approval rating stands at just a bit north of 43%. It’s about 9 points less than his disapproval rating.

Voters’ opinion of Congress is worse than that. We are feeling testy toward the speaker of the House, the minority leader of the House, both party leaders in the Senate.

What’s going on? We well might be turning the corner on the pandemic; we’re still adding jobs to an economy battered by the disease, albeit at a too-slow rate; joblessness is down. Yes, we have immigration issues that need to be resolved. Our lawmakers cannot get our nation’s budgeting process figured out.

But damn! I just get this nagging notion that public opinion polling suggests a restiveness that might be carrying over from years past, or from months past.

I don’t see data that examines what is driving Americans’ distrust in government. I hear plenty of anecdotal stuff stemming from the previous administration’s tenure, about how the ex-POTUS was constantly railing against the “deep state” and those who collected all that power. Voters bought into a lot of what he was saying. I wasn’t one of them. My faith in government remains quite strong as does my belief that government can — and eventually will — right itself.

I don’t want there to be a state of terminal anger. There are too many good things waiting to occur. At least that’s my hope.


How does POTUS pull this one off?

“Here’s a guy who’s managed to rack up a $2 trillion deficit at a moment of full employment in the country. It is almost impossible to do that.”

Perhaps you have heard of the fellow who made that observation. He is U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, a Colorado Democrat, who — by the way — is one of the seemingly hundreds of Democrats running for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination.

He calls Donald Trump the “most fiscally irresponsible” president in decades. Bennet does raise a fascinating point.

The economy continues to rock along. Joblessness is down to 3.6 percent, the lowest rate in 50 years. The private sector keeps adding jobs at a robust rate, adding 263,000 more of them in April. That’s a solid performance, which the president is fond of touting. He should. The numbers are great!

How does the president manage, though, to preside over a federal budget deficit that is skyrocketing into the trillion-dollar stratosphere? I am not an economist, but I always thought that full employment — which is close to where we stand at the moment — is supposed to generate enough tax revenue to keep the government flush with money. That ain’t happenin’, man!

Dang! So the president will campaign on The Economy. What about that budget deficit, Mr. President? Doesn’t that matter any longer to any of those who comprise the president’s “base”?

Hah! Who am I kidding? Of course it doesn’t!

Good news, then a trade war … nice!

Donald J. Trump has just managed to piddle on his own good-news report. This is weird, man.

The U.S. Labor Department this morning released some seriously positive news: 233,000 non-farm jobs were added to the payrolls in May, which is greater than what economists expected; the nation’s jobless rate fell to 3.8 percent, the lowest rate since 2000.

We’re cheering the news! Yes, the economy is showing signs of rocking along. The president deserves his share of credit for the serious uptick in employment activity.

But … wait!

The previous day, the president announced a huge tariff on imported steel and other goods. Who’s going to get slapped with this protectionist measure? Our major trading partners and allies: Canada, Mexico, the European Union.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a statement this week about how this policy might make sense to someone in Washington but at this moment he cannot figure out what Trump is trying to do.

I’m not an economist, but I know enough about global economics to understand that trade wars rarely produce winners. Everyone loses. The cost of manufacturing items goes up because companies — that are in the business for make maximum profit — must increase the price of what they produce to cover the cost of sending it to trading partners.

Who pays the cost? You do. So do I.

This is classic protectionist policy, favored by union leaders who understandably want to protect their members’ jobs against foreign competitors.

Free trade? It’s out the window, flushed down the crapper, tossed onto the trash heap.

I’m still unclear about what Trump is trying to do.

I’m delighted with the jobs report. The trade war might tamp down a lot of our enthusiasm.


Labor market loses jobs; no big deal … maybe

Donald J. Trump was all too quick while running for president to denigrate the nation’s stellar job growth during the final months of Barack H. Obama’s administration.

A couple hundred thousand jobs added to non-farm private payrolls during a given month? The number are phony, Trump would proclaim. The Labor Department is cooking the books, he would allege with no proof. The “real jobless rate” is something like 40 percent, he’d bellow.

OK. Today, the Labor Department came out with some dismal jobs numbers: employers shed 33,000 jobs in September. Yes, the jobless rate fell to 4.2 percent, which is pretty darn low!

But, but …

Still, the job losses aren’t the president’s fault. Really. They aren’t. Economists blame the job loss on business shuttering in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The hospitality industry was particularly hard hit along the Texas coast and throughout Florida, they said.

The good news is that the jobs are likely to rebound in the weeks ahead as Texas and Florida continue to recover, albeit slowly, from the savage beatings delivered by Harvey and Irma.

There’s no particular moral to this item, other than the jobs report issued today is no more “cooked” or “made up” than they were when they were reporting much happier economic news.

Let’s also remember that not even this president — the self-proclaimed “very smart person” who surrounds himself with “the best people” — can prevent nature’s wrath from damaging the nation’s business structure.

‘Economy is doing so well’

Donald John Trump is rightfully happy with the state of the national economy.

The stock market is setting records. Joblessness is low. More jobs are being added to non-farm payrolls. Consumer and business confidence is high.

That’s all great, Mr. President.

The president talked about all of that today as White House chief of staff John Kelly reported for work on his first day in the West Wing.

Here’s the deal, though. The trend the president cited is a continuation of the “mess” he supposedly inherited when he took over this past January from Barack H. Obama.

Didn’t the one-time Republican candidate for president trash the daylights out of President Obama’s stewardship of the nation’s economy? Didn’t he cite sluggish GDP growth as part of that so-called “mess”?

I’ll give the president credit, though, for a recent Commerce Department report that ticked up GDP growth a bit past its original estimate. For that, the president can take some measure of credit.

I just find it curiously ironic that one president’s economic “mess” becomes another president’s economic “miracle.”

Big spike in job growth … is it still ‘fake,’ Mr. President?

I want to say something positive about Donald J. Trump’s stewardship of the U.S. economy.

The Labor Department announced a big spike in job growth over the past month; 222,000 non-farm jobs were added to the payrolls. Good deal, yes? Of course it is! The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.4 percent, up from 4.3 percent. Cause for alarm? No, as it signals — apparently — some renewed confidence in people’s ability to find work.

The growth was greater than economists had predicted.

The president’s previous disparagement of the Labor Department’s stats, though, taint any good word one would be inclined to say about robust job growth.

When jobs were being added during Barak Obama’s presidency, then-candidate Trump spoke ill of those monthly reports. He called them “phony,” “fake,” “cooked up” by politically minded statisticians intending to glorify President Obama’s economic record.

It’s different now that Trump has taken the watch. He’s said so himself. Imagine that, will ya?

That’s OK, though. The numbers look good and Americans should hail them as a sign of continued economic growth. Trump is on pace to exceed the job-growth numbers that occurred during Obama’s final months in office.

If only the president can take those numbers, accept them with dignity and class, and refrain from crowing about them. Do you think that’ll happen? Well, me neither.

‘Phony’ jobs numbers now become ‘real’

Donald John Trump is demonstrating yet again just why he makes me sick to my stomach.

The U.S. Labor Department today announced that 235,000 non-farm jobs were added to payrolls in February, the first full month of Trump’s presidency; the jobless rate declined to 4.7 percent.

Those are impressive figures. What does the president say?

He declares those numbers are “real” even though he said multiple times during his campaign for the presidency that the Labor Department was cooking the books during Barack Obama’s presidency. He called the job growth registered during President Obama’s time in office “fake”;  he said the numbers were phony; he said the “real jobless rate” was much greater than what the Labor Department was reporting.

As White House press secretary Sean Spicer said today, quoting the president: “They may have been phony in the past but they’re real now.”

Now they’re real?

Trump sickens me for many reasons. At many levels. You name it.

He lies, slings innuendo around, insults his foes, boasts openly about his own prowess.

The Trumpkins lap this crap up, giving this clown license to keep making patently, demonstrably untrue statements.

The job figures are impressive. The president should simply have acknowledged them as progress toward the nation’s continuing economic recovery.

But no-o-o-o! He had to remind millions of us why we detest him.

So much for unity at this inaugural

I have a message to the new president of the United States, if only he receives it.

The campaign is over, Donald John Trump. You won. You’re the president. You promised to unify the country. You could have started when you delivered the inaugural speech. Sadly — in my mind — you didn’t.

What the country heard from the president was a recitation of the themes that won over enough voters to elect him president.

He painted yet again a dark, forbidding portrait of the greatest nation the world has ever known. He talked about job losses, a dispirited military establishment, fear of radical Islamic terrorists, a general feeling that the nation has gone to hell in a hurry.

This wasn’t your typical inaugural speech. It contained little of the high-minded hope that presidents bring to their high office.

Here is the speech in its entirety. Take a look and judge for yourself:


Believe it or not, I was hoping there would be at least a glimmer of recognition of the progress that President Barack Obama made during his eight years in office: dramatic reduction in the jobless rate; revival of the auto industry; huge reduction in the annual federal budget deficit; success in the war against terrorists — including the killing of Osama bin Laden.

None of that came forward.

Interestingly as well was the lack of mention of the dreaded Affordable Care Act, which Trump has vowed to “repeal and replace.” Nor was there a mention of the Iranian nuclear deal that Obama negotiated to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

He talked instead of restoring jobs, bringing back manufacturing jobs. Here’s a news flash, Mr. President: Those jobs fell victim to automation, not poorly negotiated trade deals; good luck if you think manufacturers are going to forgo robots for human beings.

I’m going to wish the president well — believe it or not. If he succeeds in all that he wants, more power to him, and to the country he now leads.

Failure, as the saying goes, is not an option.

If only he could have lifted our spirits just a little bit.