June Jobs Report: Better, but Millions of Workers Still on the Edge

By Joe Persky

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The June employment situation is largely consistent with recent trends.  It is not remarkable, but those recent trends are better than what we had become used to in the years following the deep losses of the 2007-2009 recession.  Employment over the last year has risen 2.5 million, while employment growth for the last three months has averaged about 270,000 jobs, as the economy recovered from the harshest months of the winter. The report today suggests that the 2014 first quarter GDP decline of 2.9% was not a sign of major weakening, but rather the result of the bad weather early in the year.         

The unemployment rate in June was 6.1%, down from 7.5% a year ago.  That said, the stickiness of the employment population ratio at 59.0% remains a harsh reminder that the “new normal” leaves millions of workers on the edge.  The employment population ratio is up only 0.5% since 2009 and still down 4% since 2007. 

The economy continues to tread water, without making significant progress.  The federal government refuses to provide the stimulus required by the situation.  Federal employment continues to fall, while state and local employment are recovering slowly.  Overall government employment remains below its 2007 level. 

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Joe Persky teaches economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the president of the faculty union there. He is a founding member of CPEG. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Film Discussion: Union Maids

September 24, 2017
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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.

 

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