This morning, the Bureau of Labor Statistics' May employment numbers were released. They showed that for the month, only 69,000 net new American jobs had been created, and the official unemployment rate increased to 8.2%.
A few observations:
- This is the first month this year where all should agree the numbers are bad. Previously, the number of new jobs at least approximated the population increase (which requires 125,000-140,000 just to break even), or the unemployment rate dropped. There were reasons for previous months doing better, besides the idea that the economy is improving (it is not), but this time there are no illusions.
- We are still at about 32 million Americans who want to work full-time and are not. This number can only reasonably be assessed by surveys, as more and more are leaving the labor force entirely, and it will only increase.
- Unemployment claims, a poor indicator of improvement since it only reflects those who have recently become jobless, increased as well.
- It has been a quiet month in the press on jobs. Expect much more activity over the next two weeks. Maybe we will see more articles suggesting that, as I maintain, the jobs crisis is PERMANENT and will NOT go away with better economic times. Within a few years, many if not most will agree with that, and months such as May will only bring that sooner.
- Both political sides will, of course, spin this number to their advantage. Romney, in particular, will have a lot to say about how he would do better. Both sides will bend the truth. There is nothing much wrong with that - they are, after all, politicians - but we don't need to believe it.
- As I have said many times on the radio, without Congress and both political sides working together, it won't matter whether the next president is Romney, Obama again, or Daffy Duck - the jobs crisis will not be solved, or even significantly eased. We need to THROW OUT Congress members who will only stay on their side of the fence, and vote for people who will NEGOTIATE and LEGISLATE!
We must continue to personally adjust to the times we are in, and govern ourselves accordingly. Watch this space for more advice on how!