Abysmal March Jobs Report Demonstrates the Need for a Federal Living Wage Jobs Program to End the Lesser Depression

The March jobs report underscores the weakness of the economy's crawl out of the depths of the "Lesser Depression" (LD), once again demonstrating that relying on private sector growth, even with massive and unprecedented Fed blowing up of a renewed financial sector and stock market bubble, is not going to set the U.S. economy on a path to broad-based and sustainable prosperity, as the Chicago Political Economics Group (CPEG) has been saying for many years (see: http://www.cpegonline.org/reports/jobs.pdf).

The "Current Employment Statistics" (CES) "Establishment" survey shows that non-farm payroll jobs expanded by only 88,000 in March, far below economists’ expectations of 200,000 and well below the average 197,000 payroll job growth of the last six months (Sept. through Feb).  Though this is a one-month number and there have been one-month "summer declines" in job growth throughout this tepid expansion (in June-Sept. of 2010, July of 2011 and June of 2012), this is a striking decline after six months of steady (though far from adequate) growth that does not bode well.

Indicative of how terrible the current U.S. labor market is relative to the post-war period, the current average duration of unemployment increased to 37.1 weeks (from 36.9 in Feb.), roughly double the average length of unemployment for all prior recessions since at least 1948 – see New York Times (11/2/2012): “Jobless and Helpless, in America.”  Job losses were recorded in retail trade and the U.S. Postal Service.  The latter lost 12,000 jobs in March – thanks to the massive "pension poison-pill" saddled on the Postal Service by the continued "destroy U.S. jobs" efforts of the Republican majority in the U.S. Congress (see: http://truth-out.org/news/item/14486-the-usps-media-fail).  

We are more than 45 months after the official beginning of the "expansion" in June 2009 and still have not even recovered the jobs lost since the start of the LD in Nov. 2007.   Figure 1 and Table 1 below show payroll employment change as a percent of starting employment for each of 11 post-war recessions, labeled by their official "trough," or start of "expansion", date so that the LD is labeled June 09.  As can be seen in the chart, the longest previous post-war Nov. 01 "jobless growth" recession had none the less fully recovered recession job loss by 38 months after its start.  As the average postwar expansion is 59 months, if the current abysmal rate of employment growth in the current "jobless" LD continues, it appears highly likely that the U.S. economy will not add much employment, if any, to that prevailing in Nov. of 2007.

And reflecting the fact that we have an income as well as a jobs problem, average hourly earnings also declined in March to $20.03 from $20.04, representing a much larger real income loss of 4.3 cents an hour at the current 2 percent inflation rate.

graph1.png

As bad as the March payroll numbers look, the more comprehensive "Current Population Survey" (CPS) "household" survey that includes: agricultural workers, the self- employed, paid family workers, and private household workers, is even more telling. March CPS employment (E) declined by 206,000, so that the official Unemployment Rate (UR) declined (from 7.7 percent to 7.6 percent)  only because the official "Labor Force" (LF) declined even further by 496,000 ( UR = (LF-E)/LF) as the Labor Force Participation Rate (LF/Pop) and the employment to population rate (E/Pop) both declined.  The former was 63.3 percent in March 2013 versus 66 percent in Nov. of 2007, and the latter was 58.5 percent down from 62.9 percent in Nov. 2007.

Using the more accurate and comprehensive U-6 "Alternative Measure of Labor Underutilization" (which includes workers who are no longer in the official labor force and the part-time unemployed who cannot get full-time employment) the real unemployment rate is 13.8 percent, and the number of unemployed in the U.S. is almost 22 million people.

graph2.png

Finally, to show how deep the LD is and how unlikely a real recovery is – given the current course of relying on private sector growth plus continued Federal Reserve financial sector and Wall Street "pump priming" without a massive federally funded jobs program – Figure 2 below compares the employment that would be required to maintain the Nov. 2007 employment-to-population ratio (E/Pop=0.62932785) constant as population increased in subsequent months, to actual employment, based on BLS monthly "Civilian Non-institutional Population" and actual (CPS) employment estimates.  As can be seen in Figure 2, based on this measure there has been virtually no jobs recovery at all in the 45 months of "expansion" from the June 2009 LD trough. All of the relative "recovery" experienced by the U.S. economy in the last 45 months has been due to a larger share of the population not being included in the labor force and not to employment growth relative to population increase.

graph3.png

Ron Baiman is on the steering committee of Chicago DSA and a member of the Chicago Political Economy Group.

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

June 27, 2017
· 77 rsvps

Join DSA activist Judith Gardiner to explore “socialist feminism.” How does it differ from other forms of feminism? How and when did it develop? What does it mean for our activism? 9 pm ET, 8 pm CT, 7 pm MT, 6 pm PT.

Data Security for DSA Members

June 27, 2017

Ack! I googled myself and didn't like what I found!

WHAT: A DSA Webinar about "Doxing"
WHEN: 9PM EST, 6PM PST

We're proud of our organizing, and chapter work is transparent for both political and practical reasons. However, there are basic precautions you can take in this time of rapid DSA growth to protect your privacy.

Key Wiki is a website that meticulously documents DSA activity and posts it for the world to see. If you're an active DSA member, likely your name is on their website. This is an example of "doxing".

As DSA becomes larger, more visible, and more powerful, we might expect that more websites like this will pop up, and more of our members' information might be posted publicly on the web.

Join a live webinar on Tuesday, June 27 with data security expert Alison Macrina, to learn:

  1. what is doxing? with examples and ways to prevent it
  2. how to keep your passwords strong and your data secure
  3. where to find your personal info on the internet and how to get it removed
  4. social media best practices for DSA organizers
  5. what to do if you've already been doxed

Zoom Link: https://zoom.us/j/9173276528

Call-in Info: +1 408 638 0968
Meeting ID: 917 327 6528

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

July 06, 2017
· 21 rsvps

Join Rahel Biru, NYC DSA co-chair, and Joseph Schwartz, DSA Vice-Chair, on this webinar for an overview of what we in Democratic Socialists of America mean when we talk about "socialism," "capitalism" and the goals of the socialist movement.  8 PM ET; 7 PM CT; 6 PM MT; 5 PM PT.

  1. This webinar is free for any DSA member in good standing.
  2. You need a computer with good internet access.
  3. Your computer must have headphones (preferred) or speakers; you can speak thru a mic or use chat to "speak".
  4. If you have questions, contact Joseph Schwartz, schwartzjoem@gmail.com.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

July 09, 2017
· 5 rsvps

You've joined DSA - Great. Now register for this New Member Orientation call and find out more about our politics and our vision.  And, most importantly, how you can become involved.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 PM PT.

Running for the National Political Committee

July 11, 2017
· 4 rsvps

Join this call to hear a presentation and ask questions about the role, duties and time commitment of a member of DSA's National Political Committee. In the meantime, check out the information already on our website about the NPC.

Feminist Working Group

July 12, 2017

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's issues, especially in light of the new political reality that we face after the elections.  9 pm ET; 8 pm CT; 7 pm MT; 6 pm PT.

Film Discussion: Pride

September 10, 2017
· 12 rsvps

Join DSA members Eric Brasure and Brendan Hamill to discuss the British film Pride (2014). It’s 1984, British coal miners are on strike, and a group of gays and lesbians in London bring the queer community together to support the miners in their fight. Based on the true story of Lesbians and Gays Support the Miners. The film is available for rent on YouTube, Amazon, and iTunes. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
· 11 rsvps

 

Join DSA member and labor historian Susan Hirsch in discussing Union Maids (1976). Nominated for an Academy Award, this documentary follows three Chicago labor organizers (Kate Hyndman, Stella Nowicki, and Sylvia Woods) active beginning in the 1930s. The filmmakers were members of the New American Movement (a precursor of DSA), and the late Vicki Starr (aka Stella Nowicki) was a longtime member of Chicago DSA and the Chicago Women's Liberation Union. It’s available free on YouTube, though sound quality is poor. 8ET/7CT/6MT/5PT.