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

Film Discussion: When Abortion Was Illegal

March 26, 2017
· 13 rsvps

Directed by Dorothy Fadiman, When Abortion Was Illegal (1992, nominated for an Academy Award, Best Documentary Short Subject) reveals through first-person accounts the experiences of women seeking abortion before the Supreme Court legalized abortion in Roe v. Wade in 1973. We are one Supreme Court nominee away from a return in many states to back-alley abortions. Join Amanda Williams, Executive Director of the Lilith Fund, to discuss challenges to reproductive justice and abortion access. (Lilith Fund funds abortions for women in need in the Central and South Texas area.) Learn about how to participate in April Bowl-A-Thons to raise funds for low-income women. View the film here for free before the discussion. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

March 30, 2017
· 42 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.  9:30 PM ET; 8:30 PM CT; 7:30 PM MT; 6:30 PM PT.

LGBT Activism: A Brief History with Thoughts about the Future

April 01, 2017
· 52 rsvps

Historian John D'Emilio's presentation will do 3 things: Provide a brief explanation of how sexual and gender identities have emerged; provide an overview of the progression of LGBT activism since its origins in the 1950s, highlighting key moments of change; and, finally, suggest what issues, from a democratic socialist perspective, deserve prioritizing now. John co-authored Intimate Matters: A History of Sexuality in America, which was quoted by Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas decision that ruled state sodomy laws unconstitutional. 1 pm ET; 12 pm CT; 11 am MT; 10 am 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 Peg Strobel, peg.strobel@sbcglobal.net.
  5. If you have technical questions, contact Tony Schmitt, schmittaj@gmail.com, 608-355-6568.

Film Discussion: Documentaries of People's History in Texas

April 02, 2017
· 30 rsvps

Join DSA members Glenn Scott and Richard Croxdale to discuss videos produced by People’s History in Texas (PHIT), a project that brings to life the stories of ordinary people in significant socio-political movements in Texas. They will discuss The Rag, their newest documentary, which tells the story of an influential underground paper based in Austin, Texas, from 1966-77. Click here to view Part I (the early years as an all-volunteer paper covering the student, anti-Vietnam and Civil Rights movements), Part II (the impact of Women’s Liberation on the paper) and Part III (building community: covering local politics, nukes, co-ops, feminist institutions). But also check out the video on the Stand-Ins about a group of university students who led a movement to desegregate Austin’s movie theaters in 1961. 8 ET/7 CT/6 MT/5 PT. Here's a blog post about PHIT.

Introduction to Democratic Socialism

April 04, 2017
· 54 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.  9 PM ET; 8 PM CT; 7 PM MT; 6 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.

What Is DSA? Training Call

April 05, 2017

If you're a new DSAer, have been on a new member call, but still have questions about DSA's core values/strategy/core work and how to express these ideas in an accessible way to the media, as well as to friends, family and others who might be interested in joining DSA, this call is for you. 

We will talk through the basics of DSA's political orientation and strategy for moving toward democratic socialism, and also have call participants practice discussing these issues with each other. By the end of the call you should feel much more comfortable thinking about and expressing what DSA does and what makes our organization/strategy unique. 8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT. 70 minutes.

Feminist Working Group

April 12, 2017
· 15 rsvps

People of all genders are welcome to join this call to discuss DSA's work on women's and LGBTQ 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.

DSA New Member Orientation Call

April 16, 2017
· 7 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.  8 pm ET; 7 pm CT; 6 pm MT; 5 pm PT.