No Ordinary Princess

...anything but ordinary...

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Isn't it convenient that, four days before an election that is likely to turn over control of the US House of Representatives, and maybe the Senate, to the party not currently in control of the executive and legislative (and, arguably, the judicial) branches of government, the Department of Labor releases very positive employment statistics? Not only do the Labor Department numbers reflect the lowest unemployment level in 5 1/2 years (note: that means the jobless rate was lower in the final days of the Clinton administration, but we won't mention that) for October, but they retroactively revised the numbers for August and September upward by 139,000 jobs. How I wish I was able to revise my numbers retroactively. (If you're having trouble falling asleep, here is the report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.)

Bush has been touting these numbers as he stumps for faltering congressional candidates.

What the President doesn't mention is what kind of jobs these are. Are these jobs that will pay a living wage and provide enough to support a family? Are these jobs with health care benefits for the employee and his/her family? Are these permanent, full-time positions or temporary or part-time, minimum wage jobs? The national minimum wage, you'll recall, is still stuck at $5.15 per hour, a number which equates, at 40 hours per week, to $206 a week...before taxes. $5.15 per hour is still the minimum wage despite efforts to pass an increase recent;y which was voted down by Democrats in Congress after Republicans tacked on a provision to eliminate the estate tax which would, admit it, mostly benefit the wealthiest in this country, those with the greatest dollar value in their estates. I think we all know what kind of "benefits" these 92,000 new jobs likely provide. (From Market Watch, "jobs in the services increased 152,000.")

Also: tomorrow, as scheduled, the verdict will be handed down in the trial of Saddam Hussein.

Two days before the election.

How very convenient.

tags: economy / economic justice / employment / unemployment / US politics


Blogger Refugee from Reason said...

A large percentage of new jobs were in the government. You're almost on the right track, but the percent of unemployed is not especially significant, as there remain nearly 7 million without jobs, and that doesn't include those who've been looking for more than 27 weeks or who have otherwise fallen out of the survey (which is a normal statistical component and not Bush devised, incidentally). I spent a long time covering this stuff and still receive the actual news releases from various Federal agencies. You'll find quite enlightening to see just what the media leaves out, mostly because of space issues. You can sign up for Labor Department releases at and most others at (Bureau of Economic Analysis).

The labor situation has been perfectly dreadful for several years now. One of the problems is that the media doesn't find it as compelling a story as it once was; many reporters on economics beats perfer other stories (and I don't blame them) and, again, the news holes these days preclude thorough recounting and analysis.

Take care

4/11/06 8:02 PM  
Blogger Cheryl said...

I noticed how many jobs were in government, too, RfR. Something like 32,000 ...out of the 92,000. Does it count if the Repubs go on a hiring spree just prior to the election? Apparently so.

I visit a site for poll results and interpretations and they occasionally have surveys...what do you think of Bush's job performance, what's your number one issue, etc. I've listed my number one concern as the economy (primarily because they didn't have civil rights and the erosion of our constitution as an option).

It amazes me that people don't care or don't notice that so much of the job growth is in places like McDonald's and Wal Mart ...very low wage, usually part-time and minimal or no benefits. Can we mention the now 46,000,000 people (God, that looks like a big number when it's fully written out) Americans without health insurance? That's what our "job growth" has wrought. Seems to me the states have to start taking action on their own if the federal government isn't going to address these issues.

Raw numbers can only show so much, or can be used to hide so much. But the idjits have bought it so often. I canonly hope they don't buy it again this time and that the too long silent majority that does see through the bullshit comes out and votes.

I'm not convinced either house of Congress is in the bag for the Democrats, much as I'd like to believe the recent polls. God help us if Bush gets to speed through the remainder of his agenda (and probably fix the Supreme Court in a decidely conservative tone for decades to come) in his last two years in office. If the Dems don't at least take the House, I can kiss my Social Security income good-bye!

Thanks for your insights!

5/11/06 12:05 AM  

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