September 2, 2011
Very ugly headline in itself, but when you dig deeper, it’s worse:
About 2.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force in August, up from 2.4 million a year earlier. (The data are not seasonally adjusted.) These individuals were not in the labor force, wanted and were available for work, and had looked for a job sometime in the prior 12 months. They were not counted as unemployed because they had not searched for work in the 4 weeks preceding the survey.
This paragraph stood out to me because of the lack of nuance in the unemployment discussion. It is made out by some or not clarified by many that everyone who is unemployed is magically the same as the next, all being lazy bums who sit around and intentionally collect government dole. Is it ironic that a claim of laziness made against a whole group is in fact intellectually laziness?
August 26, 2011
Bloomberg describes job creation options, the intangible benefits of possessing a job, and the above chart that graphs the steep rise in those unemployed for longer than six months. The piece is worth a full read:
Long-term joblessness is reaching epic proportions. As of July, about 6.2 million job-seekers, or 4 percent of the U.S. labor force, had been out of work for more than six months — close to the highest level in more than six decades (see chart).
The skills of the long-term unemployed are atrophying and their motivation waning, making them increasingly likely to end up as wards of the state, collecting various forms of government assistance.
The intangible benefits of employment can also have a quantifiable value: Economists David Blanchflower and Andrew Oswald, for example, have estimated that the increased happiness associated with having a job is worth about an extra $60,000 a year to the individual.
For me to find a job near full time in terms of hours from a non-profit all within a nation in a recession baffles me. In the end, I am very thankful. I have been employed and felt unemployed – that feeling of hopelessness that things will not change. A job really does bring a degree of purpose and connection to others.
June 23, 2011
“I didn’t create a single job,” said the former Governor of New Mexico.
“Don’t get me wrong,” Johnson said in a statement. “We are proud of this distinction. We had a 11.6 percent job growth that occurred during our two terms in office. But the headlines that accompanied that report – referring to governors, including me, as ‘job creators’ – were just wrong.”
“The fact is, I can unequivocally say that I did not create a single job while I was governor,” Johnson added. Instead, “we kept government in check, the budget balanced, and the path to growth clear of unnecessary regulatory obstacles.”
“My priority was to get government out of the way, keep it out of the way, and allow hard-working New Mexicans, entrepreneurs and businesses to fulfill their potential,” he said. “That’s how government can encourage job growth, and that’s what government needs to do today.”
–Gary Johnson in quite candid and humble terms.
June 22, 2011
Some of the GOP candidates running in 2012 have executive experience (Johnson, Pawlenty, Huntsman). Conor Friedersdorf gives a good case for not trusting the job creating records these former exec’s had in their given state (New Mexico, Minnesota, and Utah, respectively). Conor even hones in on Gary Johnson, a candidate he most likely would endorse:
Every state has its confounding variables. And it’s unlikely that journalists or voters are going to accurately assign credit or blame for them, especially since a useful comparison requires attributing the appropriate credit to everyone. Plus there’s a huge time horizon problem. What if the best policy doesn’t produce jobs immediately, but does produce them eventually, and in much greater numbers than a shorter term fix? It isn’t as if it’s uncommon for a politician to inherit the consequences of a predecessor’s decision, or to saddle a successor with a problem that is more dire than it seemed when he left office.
Another problem with the jobs metric: success as a governor depends largely upon legislation signed or vetoed during one’s tenure. What if a governor has an intransigent legislature through no fault of his own? What if he owes his tremendous success to personal relationships in the state that he can’t rely on in Washington, D.C.? What if, like Gary Johnson, he vetoes bills aplenty when they’re passed by the other political party? Love or hate Johnson’s record, he amassed it largely through the veto mechanism. Elevated to the White House, but given a Republican rather than a Democratic legislature, would he be able to govern as successfully? Hard to say. A man’s success operating in one political context isn’t a reliable predictor of how he’ll perform in another. See all the successful governors who performed poorly after attaining higher office.