More Fake Happy News About Jobs

What we are seeing is not more people employed, but more multiple job holders. Here are more problems with the latest Jobs Report…

by Paul Craig Roberts via PaulCraigRoberts.org

More Fake Happy News About Jobs

Paul Craig Roberts

Yesterday’s column [follows below] referred to a “rising labor force participation rate” when it should have read “falling labor force participation rate.”  Those of you who read the column before I made the correction must have been puzzled, but, little doubt, figured it out from the context.

One of the main points of the article is that the number of payroll jobs are not the same thing as the number of employed Americans.  Jobs have been trending toward part-time as this allows employers to avoid benefit costs.  In order to make ends meet, many Americans work two or more part-time jobs.  Therefore, the announcement on Friday of 148,000 new jobs does not mean 148,000 more employed Americans.

There is another problem with the payroll jobs.  Although the figure is nonfarm and does not include imported agricultural labor, it does include immigrants on work visas, such as H-1B and L-1 visas.  This means that job gains in information technology and software engineering, for example, might be job gains for immigrants on work visas and not for American citizens.  

As the payroll jobs number reflects reported information on payroll taxes and unemployment insurance, citizens and immigrants are lumped together.  The percentage of new jobs taken by immigrants on work visas is not broken out. 

The household survey number, however, does estimate the numbers of foreign-born and American-born employees, but it does not specify the legal status of the foreign-born, that is, whether they are naturalized citizens, green card holders, or immigrants on work visas. The household survey numbers are interesting. There are 27.1 million foreign-born employees with jobs in the US and 131.2 million native-born American employees.  That the number of foreign-born employees is as large as 20 percent of American-born employees reflects either a high rate of immigration or a large number of foreign workers issued work visas.  

In response to yesterday’s column, a reader wrote that he had seen a report last Thursday that the House of Representatives has passed a bill to allow unlimited numbers of people from India and China to be granted work visas for US programming jobs.  The reader concludes that his job will soon be history and he will disappear into the ranks of the uncounted American unemployed.

When it happens to them, Americans finally understand, regardless of the controlled explanations of The Matrix in which they live, that their government does not ever represent them.  It represents profits—the profits of companies that produce profits by lobbying and legislating against Americans.  

Assessing this information, the conclusion is that it is a waste of time and money for Americans to learn programming from a US institution.  Instead, they should acquire Indian citizenship, get a degree from an Indian university, and apply for a US work visa.

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The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the US economy created 148,000 new private sector jobs during July.  The jobs number does not translate into employed people as increasingly Americans hold two or more jobs.  For example, the BLS reports that from June to July the number of multiple job holders rose by 233,000 which is 85,000 more than the 148,000 new private sector jobs.  What we are seeing is not more people employed, but more multiple job holders. Since May the number of multiple job holders has increased by 534,000.  https://www.bls.gov/news.release/empsit.t09.htm 

The claim of a falling rate of unemployment over the past decade is inconsistent with the falling labor force participation rate. Normally, when employment prospects are good the labor force participation rate increases.  To explain away the inconsistency, economists claim that the decline in the labor force participation rate reflects the increased retirements of the baby boomer generation.  However, the  BLS reported that the labor force participation rate for older workers of retirement age surged to the highest level in 7 years.  

So, what is really going on?  The answer is that retired people, thanks to the Federal Reserve’s low to zero interest rate over the last decade, cannot live on their pensions and their savings.  They have to take part-time jobs to make ends meet.  Younger people, however, cannot form independent households on the basis of part-time jobs, and as they have no pension income to supplement the meager pay of a part-time job, have dropped out of the work force.  

The reason the reported unemployment rate is low is that the millions who have dropped out of the labor force because they cannot find life-sustainable employment are not counted as unemployed.  What do these people do?  They live with parents or grandparents and they work cash jobs house sitting, walking dogs, cutting grass, and various handiman jobs.

There are many problems with the payroll jobs report, and always are.  For example, the July report finds 16,000 new manufacturing jobs, but the manufacturing index weakened for the fourth consecutive month. How do manufacturing jobs rise when manufacturing activity declines?

Another anomality is the collapse of seven trucking companies this year.  if the economy is so good, why has demand declined for transportation to move goods from producers to warehouses and from warehouses to retail outlets?

Americans live in a world in which explanations are controlled. The facts are whatever serves the interests of the ruling elites. Identity Politics serves to keep Americans disunited.  We hear far more about “white supremacy” and “misogyny” than we hear about the agendas that control our existence.