The Lesser Depression is Still With Us: Employment Report for July 2013

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ labor market bulletin for July reports that total non-farm employment increased by 162,000 jobs and the unemployment rate inched down to 7.4 percent (down 0.2 percentage points from 7.6 percent in June). A closer look at the fine print of the gross statistics reveals that structural problems remain.

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The report includes a downward revision of 26,000 from the previously reported May (175,000) and June (195,000) jobs’ totals. Thus, the reported 162,000 jobs gain is in fact 13,000 below a three-month average of 175,000.

Part of the drop in unemployment is accounted for by dropouts from the labor market (the so-called discouraged workers). The labor force participation rate declined 0.1 percent (from 63.5 to 63.4 percent), while the portion of the population employed remained at 58.7 percent.  So, despite the decline in the unemployment rate, the number of workers unable to find work increased and no new jobs were created relative to the size of the working-age population.

Moreover, 52.5 percent of jobs (85,000 of 162,000) were generated in the low wage sectors of retail trade (47,000) and leisure and hospitality (38,000).  This is likely a factor behind the decline in average weekly earnings.  Relative to June, average weekly earnings (private non-farm industries) were down $3.09 overall. While in retail trade and leisure/hospitality, the sectors accounting for half of all growth, the declines were 90 cents and 83 cents respectively. The number of average weekly hours remained the same for both these sectors, which is to say that within the “growth” industries workers saw no improvement in their incomes. 

In addition to the 11.5 million officially unemployed, 8.2 million workers remain “persons employed part time for economic reasons,” more accurately the under-employed, people whose hours were cut or for whom full-time employment is unavailable.

These low-wage job additions for July are neither one month’s “noise” nor a seasonal summer uptick, but rather in line with the deliberate design of a low wage/part-time neo-liberal economy.  The data are further confirmation that 69 months from the Dec. 2008 start of the Lesser Depression, and 51 months from the beginning official "expansion" in June 2009, the private sector is incapable of generating job creation and a recovery.

We reiterate again the call for a national jobs program along the lines of this proposal by the Chicago Political Economy Group: http://www.cpegonline.org/reports/jobs.pdf. Short of a committed national policy program along these lines, we will be treated to recurring monthly bulletins on the ongoing Lesser Depression.

Yasir Abuzayd is a graduate student at Roosevelt University in Chicago and a Chicago Political Economy Group member

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 82 rsvps

Join Philadelphia DSA veteran activist Michele Rossi 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? 4-5:30pm ET, 3-4:30pm CT, 2-3:30pm MT, 1-2:30pm PT.

DSA Webinar: Talking About Socialism

May 02, 2017
· 47 rsvps

Practice talking about socialism in plain language. Create your own short rap. Prepare for those conversations about socialism that happen when you table in public.

Join us for our latest organizing training for democratic socialist activists: DSA’s (Virtual) Little Red Schoolhouse.

This training is at 9:00pm Eastern, 8:00pm Central, 7:00pm Mountain, 6:00pm Pacific, 5:00pm Alaska, and 3:00pm Hawaii Time. Please RSVP.

Instructor:

Steve Max, DSA Vice Chair and one of the founders of the legendary community organizing school, The Midwest Academy

In Talking About Socialism you will learn to:

  • Have a quick response ready to go next time someone asks you about democratic socialism.
  • Create your own elevator pitch about democratic socialism and DSA.
  • Use your personal experience and story to explain democratic socialism.
  • Think through the most important ideas you want to convey about democratic socialism.
  • Have a concise explanation of what DSA does, for your next DSA table, event or coalition meeting.

Training Details

  • This workshop is for those who have already had an introduction to democratic socialism, whether from DSA's webinar or from other sources.
  • If you have a computer with microphone, speakers and good internet access, you can join via internet for free.
  • If you have questions, contact Theresa Alt <talt@igc.org> 607-280-7649.
  • If you have very technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt <schmittaj@gmail.com> 608-335-6568.
  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
· 19 rsvps

Join Victoria Bynum, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of History, Texas State University, San Marcos, to discuss The Free State of Jones. STX Entertainment bought the film rights to Bynum's book of the same title. She also served as a consultant and appears in a cameo scene. What was the Free State of Jones? During the Civil War, an armed band of deserters led by Newt Knight, a non-slaveholding white farmer, took to the swamps of southeastern Mississippi and battled against the Confederacy in an uprising popularly known as “The Free State of Jones.” Joining Newt in this rebellion was Rachel, a slave. From their relationship, there developed a controversial mixed-race community that endured long after the Civil War had ended. View the film here for $6 before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.