Tag Archives: Labor Department

‘Meager’ jobs report prompts more action? Sure, but wait

By John Kanelis / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

The Labor Department produced some relatively desultory job-creation figures this morning.

The private non-farm sector generated “only” 266,000 jobs in April, said the Labor bean counters. There had been projections of a million plus such jobs.

What was the response from President Biden? He said the relatively skimpy job growth means the government must do more to stimulate an economy crushed by the COVID pandemic.

I agree with him … to a point.

The jobs figures signal a need to approve something akin to the infrastructure/family/jobs package that Biden has presented to Congress.

I am not sure that we need to receive yet another round of “stimulus checks” to boost the economy.

Don’t get me wrong. My wife and I appreciate the aid we got from the government already. The $2,400 we received during the last year of the Trump administration and the $2,800 we received shortly after Joe Biden took office both have gone a long way to easing any difficulty in our home.

However, I remain a deficit hawk. I am fearful of the enormous deficits being run up during the current federal budget year. I want there to be more economic aid, but I also want it to come in the form of boosting tax rates for mega-wealthy Americans and corporations who find a way to avoid shouldering their share of the tax burden.

As for the infrastructure portion of the Biden package, by all means let us put people to work building and rebuilding our roads, bridges, airports and seaports. President Biden has thrown out an interesting idea, to re-create the Civilian Conservation Corps established during the Franklin Roosevelt administration as a way to rid the nation of the Great Depression. Let’s have that discussion, too.

I am not panicking just because one month’s job numbers didn’t measure up to what the brainiacs had predicted. I urge our government leaders to avoid pushing the economic pedal to the metal full bore.

Forecast of economic doom? Hah!

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Hey, wait a second!

I could swear I heard Donald John Trump make a bold prediction that if Joe Biden were elected president of the United States that the U.S. economy would collapse.

That the stock market would crater. That jobs would flee the nation. That unemployment rates would balloon beyond anything we could recognize. That the economic health of the nation required the re-election of Trump as president.

Didn’t he say that? Or words to that effect?

Well, let’s see. The March jobs report came in today. Private non-farm job growth registered a 916,000 surge. Joblessness fell to 6 percent. The U.S. Labor Department report suggested, according to economists, that our economy is showing signs of post-pandemic vitality.

Now, let me be clear. President Biden does not deserve all the credit for this performance. Vaccines are being injected into more Americans every day. I know about the increase in COVID cases and an uptick in deaths from the virus. Health officials are urging us to stay the course, to keep wearing masks, practice social distancing.

However, I want to highlight one more lie that Donald Trump just  had to throw out there before he exited the White House for the final time. This formerly legendary business mogul made a prediction that has turned out — like practically everything he has said — to be patently false.

These numbers are mind boggling … to be sure

I always have considered the study of economics to be a fairly precise endeavor. Experts look at hard data and make determinations based on what they see as hard evidence of trends.

I also am not an expert on these matters, so take this brief blog post with a grain or two of salt if that suits you.

Thus, when economists project a jobs report that looks toward a 20 percent unemployment rate nationally and the loss of about 9 million non-farm jobs in the past month, I tend to take those projections seriously. I mean, the pandemic has slammed the brakes on the national economy.

That didn’t happen today when the U.S. Labor Department released its latest monthly jobs report.

Labor’s bean counters said the nation added nearly 3 million jobs and the jobless rate dropped from 14 percent to 13 percent in the past month.

How in the name of data-driven study did they miss the mark so badly?

If this had been done during the administration of, say, Barack Obama, we could expect to hear accusations immediately coming from, oh, Donald Trump that the numbers were cooked up. That they were phony. That the Labor Department is being run by a cabal of partisan hacks intent on feathering the president’s political fortunes.

Donald Trump, though, is the immediate beneficiary of these stunning numbers … and this stunning misreading of the nation’s economic standing.

I won’t question the veracity of this jobs report, given my own stated belief that the Labor Department is run by professionals who know what they heck they are doing. I have defended the Labor Department when Donald Trump hurled baseless accusations about previous jobs reports.

At least they know what they’re doing, um, most of the time.

However, I look forward to a thorough explanation of just how the best and the brightest economic minds in the nation missed this call by a country mile.

Wait for the next set of job-growth numbers

The way I figure it, the first Friday in April is going to be a doozy.

That is when the U.S. Department of Labor is scheduled to release its non-farm jobs report for March, which happens to be the first full month of the coronavirus pandemic that has sent jolting shockwaves throughout the nation’s economy.

The March figures likely won’t be nearly as rosy as the monthly reports have been for he past, oh, decade or so.

We’ve been adding millions of jobs annually since around 2010. Donald Trump, of course, pooh-poohed the Labor Department numbers prior to the time he became president. He called them “cooked up” figures; he said there was no way we were adding to payrolls so dramatically during the Obama administration.

It all changed when he took office in January 2017. Then the numbers became like The Gospels to him.

What will might happen on April 3 when the Labor Department releases its next set of numbers? They might reveal a net loss of jobs in March. Why? The reason is obvious: Businesses have been forced to shutter themselves as states, counties and cities issue directives limiting crowd sizes. The federal government response to date has been spotty … and that’s the kindest description I can use.

How might the president react to crappy jobs numbers in March? I am guessing he’s going to find a way to blame it all on President Obama. Or on China. Or on the Deep State. Or perhaps on Martians who landed on Earth and kidnapped employees and flew them into outer space.

I am guessing, too, that Donald Trump will go ballistic. He’ll suffer a form of apoplexy not seen since, oh, when he learned that his inaugural crowd was nowhere near the size of the one that cheered the inauguration of Barack Obama.

These are troubling times. We in for more pain before it gets better. As for the president, he’ll have to deal with the bad news that is sure to arrive.

266,000, 3.5 percent: Numbers are great, Mr. POTUS, however …

You bet that those numbers released this morning from the U.S. Labor Department are pretty darn stellar.

We added 266,000 jobs to our private payrolls in November; unemployment ticked down to 3.5 percent, retaining a full-employment ratio in the work force.

Those are impressive figures, as Donald Trump will tell us. “It’s the economy, stupid,” he tweeted this morning, using a phrase made famous by Bill Clinton campaign guru James Carville in 1992.

Let’s wait, though, for yet another suggestion from the president that will declare, “You cannot impeach me. Look at the job I’m doing to boost the economy! The economy is going too well for you to impeach me!” 

Mr. President, the pending impeachment by the House of Representatives has nothing — zero, zilch — to do with the economy. Indeed, presidents don’t get impeached based on how they are handling the nation’s economic health, unless they commit some sort of “high crime and misdemeanor.” Near as I can tell, Donald Trump’s trouble has nothing to do with the economy.

It has everything to do with other matters relating to how he has abused the power of his office to solicit a foreign government to help him win re-election. The articles of impeachment that will come from the House will speak to that abuse of power, perhaps to obstruction of justice or to obstruction of Congress.

The economy? It won’t be mentioned anywhere in those articles.

So, Mr. President, you may stop referencing the economy in the context of impeachment. It’s a non-starter.

Acosta hits the road, leaving another Cabinet agency dark

Donald J. Trump’s fine-tuned machine has thrown another rod, busted another piston, blown another tire … whatever.

Alex Acosta has resigned as labor secretary amid growing calls for his removal from the Cabinet post. It appears that when he was a federal prosecutor in south Florida, he worked out a sweetheart deal with alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, a former friend of Trump and of Bill Clinton.

Epstein got into trouble a few years ago and Acosta worked out some kind of deal that kept Epstein out of the slammer.

It didn’t turn out well. Epstein now faces additional charges relating to allegations that he had sex with underage girls and allegedly recruited them to have sex with other individuals.

Acosta sought to defend himself Thursday. He didn’t do a good job of it, as he obfuscated his way around questions relating to the Epstein deal. He did say that he and the president have a “great” relationship.

Critics weren’t convinced. None other than Fox News analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano, who works for a Trump-friendly news outlet, predicted that Acosta wouldn’t last through the weekend. He was right.

The sleaze factor keeps worsening around the president. Epstein appears to be a bad dude, although Trump has reportedly called him a great guy.

Now we have another Cabinet secretary’s office going dark. How long will it take for Trump to find a permanent individual to run the Labor Department? Or will this one fall into the hands of another “acting” Cabinet boss?

Moreover, I also believe this shouldn’t signal the end of Acosta’s public role in this mess. He needs to sit before a congressional panel and answer questions about why he allowed a deal that kept Epstein out of the slammer in the first place.

If it smells as if something is rotten, there likely is something rotten.

Jobs report looks stellar; now, hands off the Fed, Mr. POTUS

Donald Trump has reason to smile this morning.

The U.S. Labor Department reports that the private sector added 263,000 jobs in April; the unemployment rate fell to a 49-year low of 3.6 percent.

This is the same Labor Department that Trump once disparaged as cooking the books when Barack Obama was president, when the Obama administration was presiding over similarly stellar job increases monthly.

The other guy’s success was a fabrication, said Trump. Not now. It’s all real now that Trump is in the saddle.

Hey, that’s all fine. He was wrong then to criticize the Labor figures when President Obama was in office. He is right now to hail them. It’s good news, Mr. President. Just say how much you appreciate everyone’s hard work and get on with “making America great again.”

One more thing, Mr. President. You should stop monkeying around with trying to seat lackeys and sycophants on the Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Stop trying to coerce Fed Chairman Jerome Powell into doing your bidding. The Fed is an independent agency charged with helping managing the economy.

The job figures indicate to me that the Fed is doing a damn good job.

Leave the Fed alone, Mr. President!

The attention span of a ‘fruit fly’?

Robert Reich leans to the left; his critics surely would say “the far left.” He served as secretary of labor in President Clinton’s administration. His progressive chops are well-known.

Still, for this former Cabinet official to say what he has said about Donald Trump is, well, quite stunning. Reich posted this on Facebook:

In all my years advising presidents and working in government, I have never heard of anything like this happening in the White House. During a meeting with Paul Ryan on health care, Trump reportedly became so disinterested that he stared blankly out the window and finally wandered out of the Oval Office to watch television in another room. Mike Pence had to convince (Trump) to return to the Oval Office to finish the meeting.

This man has the attention span of a fruit fly. He has no interest in facts and figures nor does he pretend to care. Even the simplest duties of the office bore him. He is more interested in what’s on Fox News than actually running the government. This is (a) real national emergency, not migrant women and children seeking asylum at the border.

I am not aware of Reich’s sourcing for what he says occurred during that meeting with the former House speaker. It sure sounds like what so many of us have heard already about the president’s lack of attention to anything approaching the details of public policy.

Thus, I have to concur with Secretary Reich’s assertion that the “real national emergency” is present inside the Oval Office, in the West Wing, in the White House.

Donald Trump’s base has elected a menace.

Jobs report: once cooked up, now legit?

Donald John Trump has this maddening capacity for talking out of both sides of his mouth and for avoiding accountability for it.

The U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report this week is an example of it. The bean counters at the Labor Department reported that 223,000 jobs were added to non-farm payrolls in May. Unemployment fell to 3.8 percent.

Good news? Of course it is! The president should take a victory lap on this one. He hailed the report so much that he actually sort of spilled the beans an hour before the data were released, breaking with longstanding presidential protocol. Some critics are concerned that he might have manipulated stock markets around the world by offering that hint of the good news that was about to be revealed.

But wait! He once derided those same bureaucrats’ findings when they delivered stellar jobs report numbers during the Barack Obama administration. He called them phony, cooked up. He said the actual jobless rate during President Obama’s time in office was many times greater than what the Labor Department said it was.

So, which is it? Were they cooked up then and have gained validity just because Trump is in office?

This is the kind of duplicity that Trump gets away with. It simply is astonishing in the extreme that the man’s “base” continues to cheer him on, giving him more incentive to keep lying to the nation.

Weird.

Trump hogs credit he denied to his predecessor

Donald J. Trump was always oh, so quick to denigrate the economic successes of Barack H. Obama.

But … wait! Now it appears that with the nation’s economy continuing to rock along, he is seeking to take some — or most — of the credit for himself.

Politico reports that the president, faced with low poll ratings despite a brisk economic recovery, is staking more of his political fortune on the continuing spike in economic activity.

Thus, the success he refused to acknowledge during President Obama’s two terms in office is now becoming an opportunity for him to seize during his own time in the White House.

It’s almost laughable. No, actually it is laughable.

Trump derided the monthly jobs boost recorded virtually throughout Obama’s terms in office. He used to contend the job growth was phony; the Labor Department cooked up the numbers, he said, to make the president look good.

Now that he’s on the watch, the job numbers are like the Gospels, according to Trump. Which is it, Mr. President? Are they phony or are they holy?

Trump will deserve credit if his economic policies continue to produce healthy job and wage growth. He’ll deserve the credit in due course.

However, he shouldn’t try to scarf up the credit that rightfully belongs to the momentum built by his presidential predecessor and preceding Congresses long before he declared his presidential candidacy.