Tag Archives: labor force participation rate

Carter Redux

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Jimmy Carter Redux?

By Jerry Rogers

In his speech at Northwestern University last week, the president touted—as good news—the unemployment rate. He said that “by every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office.”

By every economic measure, we are better off?

We know from the September Jobs Report that the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9 percent. However, if you’re like most American workers, your earnings have declined or remained flat. Household income—for most Americans—is lower today than it was five years ago when the great recession officially ended.

Why?

Behind the rosy headlines celebrating the “rebounding” economy and the “reassuring” news of falling unemployment is the gloomy truth that the labor-force participation rate remains shockingly low—1970s, Jimmy Carter low. Earnings are stagnant because we have a surplus of workers sitting on the sidelines.

As I said here yesterday, the unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. President Obama is failing as dramatically as did Jimmy Carter. The last time the labor force participation rate fell to 62.7 percent (today’s level) was during the Carter malaise in 1978. Let’s leave the late-70s behind us, and build an economy for the 21st Century.

Policy-makers need to pass meaningful market-based reforms that will liberate entrepreneurs from taxes and costly, job-killing regulations. The health of America’s economy depends on start-ups and new businesses being able to obtain capital, expand research, and grow into public companies that can hire people while bringing new products to market.

We can do better, and I’ll be exploring how at the CapAllies Post as we lead up to the midterm elections. Stay tuned.

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise

 

A Total Collapse in the Labor Force Participation Rate

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5.9% versus 62.7%: The Spin versus the Truth

By Jerry Rogers

At Northwestern University last week, President Obama said we are better off than we were six years ago; and the September Jobs Report—at first glance—supports the President’s assertion. With 248,000 new jobs added to the economy, things appear to be on the upswing.

However, while the keepers of conventional wisdom celebrate the 5.9 percent unemployment rate, the economy continues to sputter. The pundits gladly report on the 248,000 Americans who found jobs—good news! What they’re not reporting is the disturbing news of more than 300,000 Americans who have quit the work force; people who have given up and dropped out.

The unemployment rate dropped because more people simply gave up looking for jobs. The labor force participation rate in September fell to 62.7 percent, a level not seen since 1978. 92.6 million Americans are not participating in the work force!

Too many Americans are still working jobs for which they are overqualified, and wages are still lagging behind the rising costs for housing, healthcare, education, groceries, and energy. More than 500,000 full-time jobs have been replaced by 800,000 part-time jobs since the great recession, the highest increase in part-time employment since 1993.

More than five years after the recession ended, we’re still living in a feeble economy.

 

Jerry Rogers is vice president at the Institute for Liberty and the founder of Capitol Allies, an independent, nonpartisan effort that promotes entrepreneurship, economic growth, and free enterprise.