August Jobs Report Pretty Darn Good. Thanks, Brandon!
The monthly jobs report for August is here, and the news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics is pretty darn good, with 315,000 new jobs — a bit down from last month's burst of over a half million jobs — and a slight uptick in unemployment, by two tenths of a percentage point, to 3.7 percent. And even that rise in the unemployment rate is the "good" kind that indicates the economy is growing well, according to the Economic Policy Institute's Elise Gould, who notes that the labor force participation rate is up three tenths of a percent: More people are looking for jobs because employers are hiring.
\u201cStrong #JobsReport out this morning with 315,000 jobs added in August and an increase in labor force participation of 0.3 percentage points as unemployment rose for the "right" reasons as workers continue to return to the labor market in search of jobs.\nhttps://t.co/x7clGP0al4\u201d— Elise Gould (@Elise Gould) 1662122349
Gould also notes the August report shows that "private sector employment is now 0.7% above pre-pandemic levels," but that growth hasn't been matched by jobs in state and local government, which remain 3.2 percent below February 2020 levels. That means that we still have a way to go to get back to the levels of service that are needed by the public. Yes, really, government is good, shut up Ghost Ronald Reagan.
Also too, one more wonky tweet with a chart, which dramatically shows that Americans are indeed back to work in numbers that are just about where they were pre-pandemic — with job markets continuing to grow.
\u201cPromising uptick in labor force participation, up 0.3pps between July and August. While the labor market didn't absorb all of those workers into jobs (the increase in unemployment), it's a promising sign. And, prime-age EPOPs rose a full 0.3pp, nearly reaching its Feb 2020 level.\u201d— Elise Gould (@Elise Gould) 1662122349
EPI President Heidi Schierholz added that the numbers make clear that "we're almost surely not in a recession now," but she's also concerned that the Fed's moves to curb inflation by raising interest rates
may have already overshot and secured a recession in coming months. Regardless, they should slow the pace of rate increases substantially and be ready to go into neutral or even cut rates.
Schierholz also said we need to be pushing state and local governments to start hiring again, using funds from the American Rescue Plan that were designated to keep public sector folks in their jobs. That's what the money's for!
Finally, a reassuring little statistic from the jobs report: You know how we're always on about how you need to keep in mind that any one monthly report may end up being revised a lot up or down, especially in this weird pandemic economy? It's just a quirk of how the BLS jobs survey works; it can take time for the reporting from employers to catch up.
The jobs numbers from June and July saw some of that in this month's report, too: The initial June number of 398,000 new jobs was revised downward quite a bit, by 105,000 jobs, to 293,000. But July's banging jobs report, which showed 528,000 new jobs and left Fox News madly trying to make it seem like bad news, barely changed at all in the new report, with a tiny downward revision of just 2,000 jobs, to 526,000. It's possible that subsequent reports will move that number up or down, but we'll have to wait to see.
In semi-related news, because it's about jobs, let's briefly point and laugh and say "FUCK NO" at Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wisconsin) who may be running for reelection but is nonetheless willing to say stupid things that will make people vote against him.
In his latest brainstorm, Johnson explained at a town hall this week that he has a great idea to address the labor shortages that have cropped up during the recovery: Instead of expecting employers to do supply and demand by raising wages to attract employees, what if we "coax" retired people back into the workforce by letting them take jobs, but not pay any payroll tax? That way, they could "earn a few extra bucks," and employers could get a bargain on labor!
\u201cDuring his tele-town hall last night, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) endorsed an "innovative" idea to address labor shortages: "coax" seniors to leave retirement and reenter the workforce so they can "earn a few extra bucks."\u201d— Heartland Signal (@Heartland Signal) 1662056219
There would of course be a teensy downside, since Medicare and Social Security are funded by payroll taxes. If substantial numbers of seniors took such jobs, the loss of revenue could be significant, and oh what fun it would be to cut benefits!
This latest great idea, to nudge seniors out of retirement and back into the rat race, followed on Johnson's earlier brilliant plan to go one worse than Rick Scott, who proposed that all federal laws be reauthorized every five years, including the laws enabling Social Security and Medicare. Johnson said five years was too expensive, so Congress should vote every year on whether to continue programs that tens of millions of Americans depend on. Nothing like the risk of financial ruin and homelessness to keep seniors on their toes! For some reason, Johnson's threats against old people aren't terribly popular.
In reply to Johnson's latest scheme, his Democratic opponent, Mandela Barnes, had a bit of a question:
\u201cRon Johnson's solution to the labor shortage: send seniors back to work. \n\n?????\n\nHe voted to raise the retirement age. He wants to slash Social Security. Why is Ron Johnson waging a war on our seniors and the benefits they\u2019ve worked towards their entire lives?\u201d— Mandela Barnes (@Mandela Barnes) 1662066157
Ron Johnson's solution to the labor shortage: send seniors back to work.
He voted to raise the retirement age. He wants to slash Social Security. Why is Ron Johnson waging a war on our seniors and the benefits they’ve worked towards their entire lives?
Barnes tweeted today that voters should probably keep Johnson's brilliant ideas in mind come November.
Remember when Ron Johnson said he wanted to “coax” seniors back into the workforce to “earn a few extra bucks”? And that was his solution to the labor shortage?
We do. And this November, we’ll send him packing for the disrespect he has shown our seniors.
We'll admit, we're suckers for the joke where people ask if you "remember" something that just happened. We also hope Sen. Johnson will have the opportunity really soon to enjoy his own retirement — with all the benefits he and others are entitled to, because we know what a commitment actually is, the end.
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Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.