Let Them Eat COVID, Or These Fabulous New Job Numbers!
So much for that V-shaped recovery. The November jobs report is out this morning, and it's not great! Economists were looking for 445,000 new jobs, and they got 245,000. That's compared to a gain of 610,000 jobs in October. Hey, remember when Kush 'n' Munch promised us a soaring year-end recovery thanks to the Dear Leader's wise stewardship? Yeah, not so much.
As the next wave of coronavirus crashes over us and Mitch McConnell's end of unemployment benefits time bomb detonates under nine million Americans, it's clear we're in for a rough winter.
Theoretically, unemployment declined from 6.9 percent in October to 6.7 percent last month. But the reality is that 400,000 people dropped out of the labor force permanently, disguising what's probably a net loss of actual jobs. Anyway, the month-on-month data is just a metric to tell us how much progress we've made digging out of the covid hole. The more meaningful comparison — the one that tells us how much shoveling we'll have to do to get back to "normal" — is where we are now compared to where we were in February when the virus hit.
In February, the unemployment rate was at 3.5 percent, and there were 152 million people working. Now it's 6.7 percent, and there are 142 million people working. That's 10 million more unemployed Americans before the next wave of covid-related closures decimates the hospitality industry.
No doubt Mitch McConnell appreciates the Bureau of Labor Statistics' commitment to producing charts so boring they'll make your eyes bleed. He's hoping you'll fall asleep before you work out that he and the rest of those evil fuckers have been dicking around for four months, pretending that the House plan for a massive stimulus bill was just Democrats being Democrats. Look at Crazy Nancy with her wacko demands for a $3 trillion package. LOL!
Thirteen percent of American households are food-insecure, and Republicans are worried that weekly unemployment checks are a disincentive for Americans to get back to work. The only thing they care about is liability protection for employers, so they can shift the risk to low-wage employees who have no choice but to crowd back into the meat-packing plant or restaurant kitchen and start cranking out profits for the people who make the real money.
Because when Republicans wring their hands about the moral hazard of paying people to stay home, they're not talking about white collar workers. It will never be a "better deal" for someone with an MBA or a JD to take the $300 or $600 in weekly unemployment insurance and "stay home." The reality is those people — and I count myself among them — are already "staying home" and getting paid to do it as part of the 21 percent of Americans who are teleworking. And their (our) retirement savings are safely invested in a stock market that is chugging along as if everything is fine.
Everything is not fine! The virus killed 2,857 Americans yesterday. Sure, we'll have a vaccine some time, but we don't have it now. And the Republican plan for 2021 is to make it economically unfeasible for working class people to stay home, while simultaneously forcing them to bear the health risk and economic cost if they catch the virus on the job. Everyone else can sit inside waiting for the Amazon man to bring us new sweatpants, since all that GrubHub food has made jeans an impossibility.
This is not a plan! A plan would have been to pay people to stay home long enough to break transmission chains and get this shit under control in September. Maybe if we'd accepted that 15 million Americans needed to be unemployed over the summer — that the public health of the nation required it and, indeed, it would have been an investment in our country to encourage them to take the money and stay home — we wouldn't be facing down a nightmare this winter.
Put another way: I don’t think we should interpret jobs numbers or other economic data now the way we did in the 08… https://t.co/6x42mxKhNn— Dan Hirschman (@Dan Hirschman)1607089646.0
Sorry, we couldn't give you a fun, Friday blog post. Blame that filthy sumbitch Mitch McConnell.
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Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.