September Jobs Report

Economy Still Stagnating; Wealth, Income Gap Still Widening

 By Luiz Diaz-Perez

wh-sept-jobs-2013.jpg 

The Bureau of Labor Statistics issued the September Employment Situation report on Oct. 22. This came 18 days after the scheduled Oct. 4 release because of the 15-day government shutdown. As expected, the September report portrays a stagnant economy, creating jobs barely at a pace commensurate with population growth and far from a rate that would reflect an economy on the road to recovery.

 Nonfarm employment increased by all of 148,000 jobs, a smidge below the 150,000 or so jobs commonly believed to be needed to keep pace with population growth. This rate was half of the 300,000 new jobs that should be created monthly in an economy working its way out of the doldrums. Unchanged was the number of Americans working part time who otherwise desire fulltime work: 7.9 million.

The official unemployment figure for the month was calculated at 7.2 percent, down from 7.3 percent in August. Both the labor force participation rate, 63.2 percent, and the employment-population ratio, 58.6 percent, were unchanged. Among the unemployed,  52.9 percent have been out of work 15 weeks or more, and 36.9 percent of the unemployed (4.1 million people) have been out of work 27 weeks or more.

 The number of people employed by the federal government fell by 6,000 in September, to 2.723 million, the lowest number of civilian employees since 1966. Since February 2010, the number of state, local and federal government jobs in the US fell by 590,000, led by a reduction of 344,000 jobs in local government. The federal government now employs only 2.0 percent of all employed people, down from 4.3 percent 47 years ago (http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2013/10/23/jobs-o23.html). In September, there was little change in the government employment figures. However, the shutdown forced our beleaguered federal workforce to take a financial hit. Nonetheless, the BLS report shows there were 22,000 new hires across state governments, a counterintuitive result in the context of diminishing public budgets.

 Employment in construction jumped by 20,000 and transit and ground passenger transportation added 18,000 jobs, perhaps as a result of the public’s increasing reliance on low-rate bus services. Healthcare added but 7,000 jobs.

 While the main elements of the September report arrived as expected, there were a couple of minor surprises. Professional and business services, which had been adding an average of 52,000 jobs per month over the preceding year, only added 32,000 positions in September. Employment in food service and drinking establishments dropped 7,000 jobs where previously there had been consistent growth in bartending and restaurant work. Last month’s drop may reflect both a reduction in summer hospitality work and the possibility that Americans just can’t afford to go out to eat as much as they had in the past.

 Another employment-oriented report, GMI Ratings’ annual poll of executive compensation, was issued the same week as the BLS report, offering more data for reflection. For the first time in the history of this annual study, none of the top 10 highest-earning CEOs made less than $100 million. GMI's poll of pay and other compensation for 2,259 US CEOs found an average rise of 8.47 percent in pay and other compensation. The top ten CEOs alone took home more than $4.7 billion between them, while the average pay package of an S&P 500 chief executive last year was $13.7 million. (http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/oct/22/top-earning-ceos-100m-paychecks-record)

The GMI findings are consistent with the US’ widening wealth and income gap. The top one percent of incomes grew 31.4 percent while the bottom 99 percent of incomes grew only 0.4 percent from 2009 to 2012. From 2009 to 2012, average real income per family grew by six percent, according to UC Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez. The top one percent captured 95 percent of the income gains in the first three years of the Lesser Depression (http://elsa.berkeley.edu/~saez/saez-UStopincomes-2012.pdf).

Luis Diaz-Perez is a Chicago writer interested in the struggle for social justice and Latin American affairs. Employment reports by the CPEG.

Individually signed posts do not necessarily reflect the views of DSA as an organization or its leadership.

DSA Queer Socialists Conference Call

April 24, 2017
· 46 rsvps

DSA is in the process of forming a Queer Socialists Working Group. This call will cover a discussion of possible activities for the group, its proposed structure, assigning tasks, and reports on the revision of DSA's LGBT statement and on possible political education activities. 9 pm ET/8 pm CT/7 pm MT/6 pm PT.

 

Introduction to Socialist Feminism Call

April 30, 2017
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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
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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.
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  • Participation requires that you register at least 45 hours in advance, by midnight Sunday.

 

DSA New Member Orientation Call

May 06, 2017
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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.  2 pm ET; 1 pm CT; 12 pm MT; 11 am PT.  

Film Discussion: The Free State of Jones

June 11, 2017
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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.