Figures just out for March show a jobs increase of only 88,000 (the worst since last June), despite an official estimate of an increase of 200,000. The official experts cite this as an effect of the Sequester, and point to examples of the Post Office – shrinking no matter what state the economy is in – cutting some 12,000 jobs. But the postal jobs are not included in the figures, and in actuality the government otherwise added some 9,000 jobs. But at the same time (and unacknowledged), the result of the payroll tax increase last January is coming on line as well (remember Obama and his promise that your taxes won't go up "one dime").
Remember, job increases have to go up by some 250,000 each month just to compensate for population increase alone, much less added jobs that would indicate an improving economy – which this is not.
What does the administration tout? The official unemployment rate dropped from 7.7% to 7.6%, but they do not add that the rate dropped because of the increasing number of people giving up on the job market and dropping out of the running, thus not part of the count. The administration continues to campaign (it never really stops campaigning) on the relentless story that it has added "millions" of jobs, yet refuses to acknowledge the millions of jobs that have been lost. It's like pouring water into a bucket with a hole in it.
Last month the unemployment rate rose, so what did they publicize? Why, the increase in the expected number of jobs, by 268,000. They will grab at whatever number looks good and ignore the others, even when they have to reverse their definition of sound numbers from only a month before.
You have to peek behind the curtain to find figures that give a better sense of reality. The standard unemployment number (U3) is only a snapshot using specific stats. The overall unemployment figure (U6) adds in the 'permanently unemployed' (those who have dropped out of the job search) and the under-employed (those who have settled for part-time work, lower-paying jobs, or who depend on a spouse who is still employed). That figure looms at 13.6%.
Evan Feinburg of Generation Opportunity, which tracks the economy's effect on the younger generation, puts the effective unemployment rate for workers aged 18 to 29 at 16.2% – one in every six workers in that age group. Is it any wonder that McDonald's is only looking to hire college graduates?
College graduates, typically within that generation, find more bleak news. According to the Department of Labor, the number of college graduates working hourly jobs in 2012 was 13.4 million, an increase of 19% from 2007. Some 284,000 college graduates worked in minimum-wage jobs in 2012 and of that number, 37,000 have advanced degrees.
According to the National Employment Law Project, some 60% of jobs lost during the recent recession were mid-level wage jobs. During what some would call a recovery, some 58% of new jobs were low-level wage.
The Obama administration's efforts to cut spending in other than their ludicrous scare tactics in the Department of Homeland Security (among other examples), is actually (and only) realized in their large down-sizing of the Department of Defense, dropping over 100,000 active-duty servicemembers into an already-bloated population of the unemployed.
*(The song, incidentally, is one of the more darkly ironic ones in history. It premiered in 1929, just prior to Black Tuesday and the crash of the stock market when – tell me if this sounds familiar – the stock prices had been increasing despite the decline of other economic indicators. The song became popular again when the Democrats used it as their theme song in FDR's successful 1932 campaign. The following two years were the worst of the Great Depression.)