Jobs Jobs Jobs

Posted at 09:39 AM ET, 09/02/2011

More reasons for Obama to go big on jobs


If anyone doubted that we need a much more aggressive effort to create jobs — and if anyone doubted that our eight-month-long obsession with debt reduction was a giant distraction — today’s jobs numbers should clear away any misapprehensions.

As the Associated Press reported this morning:

Employers added no net workers last month and the unemployment rate was unchanged, a sign that many employers were nervous the U.S. economy is at risk of slipping into another recession.

The Labor Department says total payrolls were unchanged in August, the weakest report in almost a year. It’s the first time since February 1945 that the government has reported a net job change of zero. The unemployment rate stayed at 9.1 percent.

And notice something inside the numbers. This is from the Bureau of Labor Statistics report itself:

Government employment continued to trend down over the month (-17,000). Despite the return of about 22,000 workers from a partial government shutdown in Minnesota, employment in state government changed little in August (+5,000). Employment in local government continued to decline. Since employment peaked in September 2008, local government has lost 550,000 jobs.

I added the italics to make a point: The Obama administration’s original stimulus plan wasn’t big enough, but it did create and save millions of jobs, and one reason was the assistance it gave to state and local governments to prevent layoffs. That assistance is running out, and if there is one big “job-killer” out there, to use the Republicans’ favorite phase, it is all those government cutbacks in states and counties, cities and towns around the nation.

We don’t know for certain how much debate there still is inside the administration about how big the president’s jobs proposal will be. But those who want to make it bigger are right, and these numbers should bolster their position.

This isn’t just a matter of politics and the next election. For the sake of the country and the jobless, President Obama really needs to change the debate and make clear that it’s not just liberals who think the economy needs a boost right now. The ranks of those who believe in more stimulus include business people, investors and economists of many political stripes. Now more than ever, Obama needs to think and act big.

50/50 Chance of Global Recession

Michael Spence, Nobel Prize-Winning Economist: 50 Percent Chance Of Global Recession

The Huffington Post      First Posted: 8/26/11 04:07 PM ET Updated: 8/26/11 11:23 PM ET

Michael Spence, professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business and winner of the 2001 Nobel Prize in economics, told Bloomberg Television Wednesday that there’s “probably a 50 percent” chance of the global economy slipping into recession.

The possibility of the U.S. dipping back into recession has been of particular concern to economists. And Spence says any significant downturn at home would likely spread throughout the globe.

“I’m quite worried,” Spence told Bloomberg Television in an interview in Hong Kong. “A combined downward dip in Europe and America, which is a good chunk of the industrialized economies, I’m quite sure will take down growth in China particularly, and that will then immediately spread to the rest of the emerging economies.”

A slew of recent economic data indicates the economy is slowing, if not soon to enter recession. This Spring, the U.S. economy grew at a rate of only 1 percent, according to the Commerce Department. GDP growth has been adversely affected by weak consumer spending — which accounts for 70 percent of the U.S. economy — and high levels of unemployment, economists say.

Still, most economists in a recent survey said a second recession isn’t likely, putting the possibility of such a downturn within the next 12 months at 26 percent — half that of Spence’s estimation. Others seem to agree more with Spence, such as Meredith Whitney, who noted “increasing signs” of a double-dipearlier this month. So is history on Spence’s side: 9 of 11 recessions since World War II were preempted by periods of growth of 1 percent or less.

What will it take to preempt a global downturn? “Bold action on both sides of the Atlantic,” Spence says.

Obama to Put Forth Plan for US Economy

15 August 2011 Last updated at 23:48 ET, BBC News

Obama promises ‘very specific’ plan for US economy

US President Barack Obama has promised a “very specific” plan next month to improve the flagging US economy.

In Iowa on day one of a rural Midwest bus tour, he said he would put forward the blueprint when Congress returned in September.

As President Obama spoke, his would-be 2012 Republican challengers blamed him for the flagging American economy.

With US unemployment jammed at just above 9%, jobs could well remain a major issue for voters in 2012.

Responding to a question in a town hall in Decorah, Iowa, on Monday evening, Mr Obama said: “I’ll be putting forward when they [lawmakers] come back in September a very specific plan to boost the economy, to create jobs and to control our deficit.

“And my attitude is – get it done.”

‘Lowering the rhetoric’

Mr Obama set off on Monday morning on a three-day swing through Minnesota, Iowa and Illinois.

The tour – in an imposing Secret Service armoured bus – is officially a White House event, although Republicans called it a campaign trip.

The BBC’s Marcus George in Washington says Mr Obama is trying to reassert his leadership and, indirectly, shore up support in states that could make or break his campaign for a second term.

During Mr Obama’s stop in Decorah, he clashed with a local leader of the conservative Tea Party, Ryan Rhodes.

Mr Rhodes referred to reports that Vice-President Joe Biden had likened Tea Party members during recent debt-ceiling negotiations to terrorists.

Mr Obama replied: “In fairness, since I have been called a socialist who wasn’t born in this country, who is destroying America and taking away its freedoms because I passed a health care bill, I am all for lowering the rhetoric.”

Mr Obama’s approval rating dipped below 40% for the first time in a Gallup daily tracking poll on Sunday, although recent polls have shown far lower voter satisfaction with Congress.

‘Magical Misery bus tour’

Analysts say Mr Obama’s challenge is to convince voters that his policies – including a $787bn (£482bn) economic stimulus package and health care reforms – have helped the economy, not hindered it.

Presumptive Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney labelled Mr Obama’s trip the “Magical Misery bus tour”.

The former Massachusetts governor said in a statement the president was “more interested in campaigning in swing states than working to solve the economic crisis crushing the middle class”.

Texas Governor Rick Perry meanwhile completed his first full day of campaigning, telling the Associated Press news agency: “I respect all the other candidates in the field but there is no one that can stand toe-to-toe with us.”

In an interview with an Iowa newspaper, Mr Perry also challenged Mr Obama, to “get rid of the regulations stifling jobs in America”.

Mr Perry received an unexpected compliment in New York on Monday from Democratic former President Bill Clinton.

Mr Clinton said the Texan was a “good-looking rascal,” but indicated he was not so impressed by Mr Perry’s policies.

Republican congresswoman Michele Bachmann will begin a bus tour on Tuesday in South Carolina, buoyed by her win in Saturday’s non-binding “straw poll” in Iowa.

Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty dropped out of the race after finishing a distant third in that poll. Mr Romney did not compete.

Mr Romney, Ms Bachmann and Mr Perry are each vying to become the Republican nominee and challenge Mr Obama for the White House in 2012’s elections.

With the first real voting not scheduled to take place until February, correspondents say plenty of time remains for more upheaval in the Republican race.

This could include a late entrance from Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor, 2008 vice-presidential nominee and conservative Tea Party hero.

Only 18,000 Jobs in June

Jobs report is awful. Politicians’ response worse.

Fri Jul 8, 2011 10:14 AM EDT

Private-sector job growth, charted by Steve Benen.

The June unemployment report is in, and it is bad, maybe even terrible. The unemployment rate edged upward from 9.1 percent to 9.2 percent. What’s worrying is that the economy seems to have stopped adding jobs. We already know we have millions of people out of work. Now we need businesses to hire some humans so the unemployment rate can go down.

Overall, the economy added just 18,000 jobs. Statistically, it almost might as well not have added any — we need more to add 150,000 jobs or so each month just to keep even. The private sector kicked in 57,000 jobs, but government laid off 39,000 people.

Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney has been going around the campaign trail saying that President Obama made the recession worse, and then saying he never said that. Today he released this statement:

“Today’s abysmal jobs report confirms what we all know – that President Obama has failed to get this economy moving again. Just this week, President Obama’s closest White House adviser said that ‘unemployment rates or even monthly jobs numbers’ do not matter to the average American.

“If David Plouffe were working for me, I would fire him and then he could experience firsthand the pain of unemployment. His comments are an insult to the more than 20 million people who are out of work, underemployed or who have simply stopped looking for jobs. With their cavalier attitude about the economy, the White House has turned the audacity of hope into the audacity of indifference.”

Notice that Mr. Romney left off the part about Mr. Obama making things worse. As bad the situation is — and it seriously is bad — it’s not worse than before the president took office.

House Speaker John Boehner again referred the nation to his party’s 10-page clip art plan (pdf) for job creation. As Ezra Klein writes, this chronic unemployment started as a financial crisis. It has become a political one. “We could do more,” he writes. “We should do more. But Congress won’t do anything more.”

Where Did Those 10 Years of Job Growth Go?

This Republican Recession Has Eliminated Almost Ten Years Of Job Growth

July 5, 2011
Addicting Info

The Republican recession took a little over two years to eliminate almost an entire decade of job creation (2000- 2007) and now the GOP wants President Obama to create ten years worth of jobs in 3 years of his first term. The problem is this President was forced to comply with Republican demands of tax cuts and other supply side mechanisms in order to stimulate the economy.

Let’s take quantitative easing for example. This was a federal reserve program that essentially flooded the big commercial banks with cheap money. Wall Street banks could approach the Fed and borrow cash at rates unseen in the regular market, approximately 1% or less. These funds that the huge commercial banks had borrowed are really your tax dollars that the Fed bought from the Treasury. The plan was to give money to big banks and it would filter down to your local, smaller banks and ultimately into the local economy. This unfortunately didn’t happen.

What happened was, Wall Street sat on it. They bolstered their capital on hand, but rather than using their own profits to increase financial stability, they used your tax dollars. Interestingly, the Tea Party is still quiet about this. Over ONE TRILLION dollars of your money is stashed on Wall Street. Essentially, making job creation VERY difficult for small business due to tight credit. Many businesses take out loans just to pay employees. If the businesses can not access credit, they can’t hire, even if their demand for their products increases.

Again, with out regulations, or rules to force corporations and banks to do the right thing, they won’t do it. That money Wall Street has from (QE) is completely separate from any stimulus the President wanted.

The fact that every single Republican running for President blames President Obama for the longevity of their party’s recession is completely dishonest.

This quote from the fiscal times sheds the light on what has been lost since the Great Republican recession,

The real job losses are greater than the estimate of 7.5 million. They are closer to 10.5 million, as 3 million people have stopped looking for work. Equally troublesome is the lower labor participation rate; some 5 million jobs have vanished from manufacturing, long America’s greatest strength. Just think: Total payrolls today amount to 131 million, but this figure is lower than it was at the beginning of the year 2000, even though our population has grown by nearly 30 million.

It took almost an entire decade to increase jobs by 10 million (2000-2007), now the Republicans in power want President Obama to do it in 3 years? That is a little absurd, but at least private sector jobs are being created, just not at the rate we need to get out of this Wall Street-manufactured, GOP-induced recession.

What President Obama and the government need to do is by-pass the banks entirely, create 50 state banks, just like North Dakota has. North Dakota missed the credit crisis. Capital is flowing to business and their unemployment rate is 3.5%. This Wall Street manufactured recession can only be cured with government intervention and NOT the free market.