June Jobs Report: More of the Same

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The labor market remained sluggish in May.  Unemployment rose from 7.5 percent to 7.6 percent, while the nonfarm payroll increased by 175,000.  Much of the job growth was concentrated in retail, food services, drinking places and temporary help.  Manufacturing fell slightly.

The growth in employment is at about the same rate as it has been over the last year.  This rate is simply not enough to make headway against the huge damage done by the financial panic and recession that started in late 2007.  The key measure of labor market health, the employment-to-population ratio, remains stuck at 58.6 percent.  That ratio has been at this level since 2010.  On the eve of the recession the employment-to-population ratio was over 63 percent.  In the 2001 recession this measure never fell below 62 percent. 

The economy remains in deep trouble.  We are treading water.  Growth is barely covering population increases.  The human cost of the recession continues.  The simple logic of the numbers is that we have made no progress. 

While the stock market reaches new highs, the labor market is stuck.  While corporation profits continue to rise, millions of workers are caught in unemployment or a part-time job.

In recent months, the continuing employment crisis has impacted not only the unemployed and discouraged workers; it also has impacted the rest of us, in the form of lower wages.  On Wed., June 5 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its revised report on productivity and hourly labor compensation for the first quarter of 2013.  In the first three months of the year, hourly labor compensation actually fell at an annual rate of 3.8 percent.  This is the largest quarterly drop since records began in 1947.  In real terms the decline is 5.2 percent at an annual rate. 

Faced with this continuing challenge, what policies are being followed by the national government?  Unable to move out of Congressional deadlock and caught in the dead end of sequestration, the federal government is now actually making the problem worse.  The latest job report shows an actual decline of 14,000 federal jobs in the last month, a decline of over 50,000 jobs in the last year.  At a time when the federal government should be mounting an aggressive jobs program to put millions back to work, it is instead destroying jobs.  The logic is baffling.  It is time for a change.

The Humphrey-Hawkins 21st Century Full Employment and Training Act (HR 1000) now has 36 co-sponsors. Is your representative one of them?   

Joe Persky teaches economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the president of the faculty union there.  Cartoon courtesy of Carol Simpson http://www.cartoonwork.com

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
· 79 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
· 39 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.