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More jobs than we knew
September 27, 2012 8:41 AM   Subscribe

According to a revision by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 20 percent more jobs were created over the 12-month period concluding with March 2012. The new numbers would increase the monthly pace of job creation during that period to about 194,000 a month, up from a pace of 162,000 jobs a month.

Some election forecasters have used historical evidence to project chances of winning the presidential election based on monthly job growth leading up to that election, proposing that somewhere between 125,000 and 150,000 lies the break-even point for the popular vote.
posted by DynamiteToast (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
The problem is that even with this increase, that's only enough growth to stay even with population growth. It isn't enough to rehire all the people who lost their jobs in the crash.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 8:47 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The NY times piece is sligtly incorrect:

The agency still estimates that job growth has since slowed to a pace of 87,000 jobs a month over the last five months. Those data won’t be revised until next September.

Recent releases are subject to substantial monthly revision, all of which is carefully watched. What only happens yearly are the benchmark revisions, which indeed are not as closely monitored.
posted by shothotbot at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2012


It is interesting just how difficult it is to get a decent count of jobs created/lost each month. The monthly BLS numbers become the focus of so much intense media scrutiny and can result in enormous gains or losses on Wall St., but they're really little better than guesswork. I wonder if there is room for a massive overhaul of whatever statistical methods they're using or if this is just an inherently intractable problem?
posted by yoink at 8:53 AM on September 27, 2012


Still, it would've been worse for Obama if these figures were revised downward.
posted by mattbucher at 9:00 AM on September 27, 2012


Still, it would've been worse for Obama if these figures
posted by chavenet at 9:14 AM on September 27, 2012


chavenet: True, but Romney's camp seems to have made a particular thing of using job creation as an indicator/method for economic growth..
posted by Drexen at 9:18 AM on September 27, 2012


Boy, I remember back in the Downsize This! era (otherwise known as what we used to think of as 'hard times')..."Clinton's created a LOT of new jobs, Joe." "Yeah, I have three of them."
posted by Frowner at 9:19 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Want more jobs? Stop sending them all overseas. Oh, you're not a 'job creator'? STOP BUYING FOREIGN MADE GOODS. Import taxes exist for a reason...and they could stand to be tripled about right now...
posted by sexyrobot at 9:24 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


STOP BUYING FOREIGN MADE GOODS.

Really? I guess I'm too much of a Kantian to ever understand this particular plea. Do you want people overseas to stop buying US made goods? No? Then what possible moral basis can there be for the claim that people in the US should only buy US-made goods?
posted by yoink at 9:27 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Yes, let's all delude ourselves into thinking it's the 20th century again, and we can just keep on plowing along without addressing our third world-ization, runaway militarism, and ignoring the impending climate catastrophe. 4 more years, and so on.
posted by anarch at 9:31 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If instead of a blanket "don't buy imported goods" you try not to buy stuff made under horrible conditions, then you can make a moral argument. Of course, you need to do more research, and increasing US employment is no longer the primary goal.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:33 AM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


They should only allow those that have gotten a job in the last years after a long jobless time the right to vote.

Problem solved forever.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:39 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


The other problem, benito, is that it would require everyone middle class and above to suddenly be willing to pay more for their goods, for the good of everyone worse off than them.

We can't convince the rich that paying higher taxes to fund social programs is good for them in the long run. How are we going to convince the rich that buying a washing machine stamped "Made In USA" for double the price of the one stamped "Made In China" is good for them in the long run?

The fix requires too much foresight, too much willingness to give up short term personal gains (or savings) in exchange for long term national improvement, which could in turn become personal gains.

I say this as someone who makes a strong effort to buy local, buy made in the USA, buy fair trade, but knows I could be doing more.
posted by jermsplan at 9:47 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


If instead of a blanket "don't buy imported goods" you try not to buy stuff made under horrible conditions, then you can make a moral argument.

Sure: but "don't buy stuff made under horrible conditions" is pretty marginally related to "don't buy foreign made goods." If the idea is to reward manufacturers who treat their workforce well that will mean a lot of preferential shopping for non-US first-world manufacturers: manufacturers who work in countries with better union protection, better healthcare etc.
posted by yoink at 9:49 AM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


Today's Economic Rorschach Test
We can now all go about our usual practice of citing whichever statistic either (a) proves we were right all along, or (b) is best for our favored presidential candidate. Alternatively, we can shrug our shoulders and (c) accept that economic data is messy, and not draw any major conclusions from any of this. I don't expect this to be a popular option.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:01 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


What's lost in these numbers is that the majority of these new jobs pay lower wages!

Factory jobs gain, but wages retreat

In fact, even though worker productivity may increase, it doesn't mean higher wages.


I can;t find the cite for this, but I think it was during a Robert Reich speech that I heard that American worker productivity was currently equal to it's all time high, with something like three-and-one-half million LESS workers. As I recall, the context of the statement was about the increasing productivity gains made by technology, as technology continues to replace workers, even in a service based economy (e.g. accounting software, ATMs, legal software (Nolo, etc. etc.).

What's looming is probably a permanent decrease in available jobs, with competition heating up for what's left, which means that we are beginning to enter an age where everyone will not be able to work, vastly increasing labor competition. In addition, that competition is becoming increasingly more international. We are heading for an economy where people will necessarily have more leisure time - whether they want it or not. Stay tuned as this problem rears its ugly head. Leisure time is something we should have a lot more of, but how are people going to keep themselves busy, productive, happy, and whole without the means traditionally provided by a job.

Are any policy makers really talking about this. Of course not! They would have you believe that the rich trickle down benefits (Romney), or that increasing your job opportunities even though you have a lower income is a good thing (Obama). Old thinking, driven by the real driver of policy, our ever more emboldened Plutocratic overlords.
posted by Vibrissae at 10:27 AM on September 27, 2012 [4 favorites]


Are any policy makers really talking about this. Of course not! They would have you believe that the rich trickle down benefits (Romney), or that increasing your job opportunities even though you have a lower income is a good thing (Obama). Old thinking, driven by the real driver of policy, our ever more emboldened Plutocratic overlords.

I don't think that your characterization is particularly true, nor does it take into account a host of other factors. A lot of the wage issue comes down to two things: the low wages other countries can get from their workers, therefore enticing companies to work there; and the fact that public sector jobs are being killed off by state and local governments. Neither of these are things any President necessarily has a lot of control over, the former because of trade law and the latter because he or she can only affect Federal workers. It's the GOP taking over the state and local governments and killing those workforces that's really put a dent into domestic non-farm jobs over the last 4 years, despite the fact that the stimulus was basically offering the states free money to prevent that from happening. Between the Congressional cuts to the stimulus and the uneven way the states accepted it--a lot of the GOP governors took stimulus money for certain temporary projects but didn't apply it to a permanent government workforce--there was a net decrease in easy employment at decent wages. Combine that with the fact that the same governors and legislatures are perfectly happy passing anti-labor laws, especially during the midterm elections (see below), and you've got a shitty job situation.

This is a reversible trend, at least for the short- to mid-term future, and to be honest should be something Democrats/liberals should be getting excited about every two years instead of sitting out the midterms (see: 2010) and/or forgetting to advocate for pushes to get their candidates elected at all levels of govt, not just the US Congress and President. Taking potshots every four years isn't going to get this done either, as the GOP has ably proven in the last 35 or so years. And all this talk about the wave of the technology killing off the jobs smacks of the Toffler-era futurespeak that Gingrich et al regurgitated in the 1990s, just turned into an excuse to nitpick instead of a government/regulation-free robotic utopia.
posted by zombieflanders at 10:55 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


"The problem is that even with this increase, that's only enough growth to stay even with population growth. It isn't enough to rehire all the people who lost their jobs in the crash."

Not so.

"To break even, Obama will need to add just more than 105,300 jobs per month."

Really... it's safe to say that 194,000 jobs per month is significantly more than 105,300 jobs per month.

As a means of comparison:
AVERAGE NUMBER OF JOBS CREATED PER MONTH BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION: 20,000

AVERAGE NUMBER OF JOBS CREATED PER MONTH BY THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION EXCLUDING THE DISASTROUS LAST YEAR: 65,000


Indeed.

posted by markkraft at 11:16 AM on September 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


Then what possible moral basis can there be for the claim that people in the US should only buy US-made goods?

Charity begins at home?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:18 AM on September 27, 2012




Again: Not an under-employment issue. An overpopulation issue.

Also again: You can't grow forever. Especially exponentially. We have to how to live without expanding.
posted by DU at 11:31 AM on September 27, 2012


What you are saying, DU, is that we need to decrease the surplus population?
posted by Justinian at 12:46 PM on September 27, 2012


I'm sure DU has a modest proposal.
posted by SPrintF at 1:05 PM on September 27, 2012


Soylent Jobs?
posted by zombieflanders at 1:10 PM on September 27, 2012


A lot of the wage issue comes down to two things: the low wages other countries can get from their workers, therefore enticing companies to work there; and the fact that public sector jobs are being killed off by state and local governments. Neither of these are things any President necessarily has a lot of control over, the former because of trade law and the latter because he or she can only affect Federal workers.

Nice mainstream press talking points! Anything to get whoever your favorite Presidential candidate is, off the hook.

Low wages from other countries? Well, how about Clinton enabling NAFTA? How about this and prior administrations kowtowing to corporate greed and lobbyists as they expand H1-B and other worker immigrant quotas as they LIE about the "shortage of qualified American workers"? How about the sheer LACK of disincentives that have been put in place to discourage off-shoring. Policy makers are responsible for this, as they continue to line their pockets and their power profiles.

Public sector jobs are being killed off by state and local governments? Why is that? Why don't state and local governments have the cash to maintain infrastructure (this is NOT to say their isn't government waste, but we're talking about essentials here). Are you aware that NONE of this was happening pre-financial crisis, at least not on this scale. What happened to the bankers who have helped to gut the developed world? NOTHING! The bank crisis put the breaks on entire economies because there was no way to let capital flow except through these fraudulent institutions. We bailed them out and what did they do? NOTHING!

Last, what about the BS promulgated for decades by the international monetary policy-making community, in collusion with financial institutions (is there even a difference between these groups? - they work in tandem)? Rates of currency exchange, and hence the value of one's work relative to workers in other countries is created by SUBJECTIVELY rendered accounting rules. How is it that there always seems to be a place on earth where corporations can go for the cheapest labor, including the forward reality of full replacement of workers by robots and AI systems within the next 2-3 decades. Then what?

I am so tired of the song and dance by the current powers-that-be (Plutocrats and politicians). These people are in POWER. They want to continue that. They are not necessarily bad people, but we have helped cooperate in evolving a system that fucks us over, and those at the top are its main enablers, period.

We need systemic change, but it is probably too late for that. Get ready for millions of small, social experiments, with some of them catching on, because the bottom line is that those who are pulling the strings have embedded their power and advantage in the system in ways that make systemic change almost impossible, if not downright impossible - and that includes the elite liberal classes, as well as he latter's constant conservative "opponents" (what a fucking charade!).
posted by Vibrissae at 1:15 PM on September 27, 2012


Low wages from other countries? Well, how about Clinton enabling NAFTA?

I don't see what that has to do with the current candidates.

How about this and prior administrations kowtowing to corporate greed and lobbyists as they expand H1-B and other worker immigrant quotas as they LIE about the "shortage of qualified American workers"?

Citation? The data from UCSIS shows sharp reductions in H1B visas approved/issued in 2009 and through 2010. And where did this administration mentioned a shortage of qualified American workers.

How about the sheer LACK of disincentives that have been put in place to discourage off-shoring. Policy makers are responsible for this, as they continue to line their pockets and their power profiles.

What policies, exactly?

Public sector jobs are being killed off by state and local governments? Why is that?

Because the GOP has been wildly successful in packing state and local governments with people that want to kill off the public sector.

Why don't state and local governments have the cash to maintain infrastructure (this is NOT to say their isn't government waste, but we're talking about essentials here).

Because they're turning down socialist porkulus money.
posted by zombieflanders at 1:59 PM on September 27, 2012


Romney would prefer that the money creating these jobs remained safely with the "job creators".
posted by jeffburdges at 3:21 PM on September 27, 2012


I was excited by this revision, but it turns out that I still don't have a job.
posted by stopgap at 3:24 PM on September 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


hey would have you believe that the rich trickle down benefits (Romney), or that increasing your job opportunities even though you have a lower income is a good thing (Obama). Old thinking

When exactly did Obama say this? He said that is a good thing? A cite would be great.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:00 PM on September 27, 2012


"Want more jobs? Stop sending them all overseas. Oh, you're not a 'job creator'? STOP BUYING FOREIGN MADE GOODS. Import taxes exist for a reason...and they could stand to be tripled about right now..."

Not really. Protectionism hurts everybody — that's the other lesson of the Great Depression beyond "Keynsian stimulus works."

And while conscious consumerism is a nice stopgap, it gets over-rated by individualists who miss the bigger picture — government is really the only power that can adequately regulate trade. (Just off the top of my head, I'd be fine with tariffs weighted more by job conditions than wages.)
posted by klangklangston at 9:29 PM on September 27, 2012 [3 favorites]


Zombieflanders: Low wages from other countries? Well, how about Clinton enabling NAFTA?

I don't see what that has to do with the current candidates.


Earlier, you made the generic statement that a President was powerless to influence these things. Make up your mind.
****
ZombieCitation? The data from UCSIS shows sharp reductions in H1B visas approved/issued in 2009 and through 2010. And where did this administration mentioned a shortage of qualified American workers.

Foreign Hi-Bs increased this year And, if you've ever taken the time to visit Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose, etc. etc (Silicon Valley), I think you'd sing a very different tune. The sheer abuse of foreign worker programs in American high tech is nothing short of stunning, and criminal!
****

How about the sheer LACK of disincentives that have been put in place to discourage off-shoring. Policy makers are responsible for this, as they continue to line their pockets and their power profiles.

Zombie: What policies, exactly?


American corporations are not penalized for off-shoring. That's a policy decision! They get to replace American workers, and keep the profits form low wage slaves, or cheap educated labor. THAT policy, and all the other myriad policies that are on the periphery of outsourcing. Do some freakin' research!
********
Public sector jobs are being killed off by state and local governments? Why is that?

Zombie: Because the GOP has been wildly successful in packing state and local governments with people that want to kill off the public sector.


Are you trolling? It's been OBVIOUS for tha last 3 years that the economic downturn has been a disaster for municipal governments. Sales tax revenues, infrastructure investment, etc. etc. It's not the GOP, universally.
posted by Vibrissae at 11:47 PM on September 27, 2012


Earlier, you made the generic statement that a President was powerless to influence these things. Make up your mind.

I love the part where you left out where I said it was trade law. Yes, he signed it, but ultimately it came from Congress.

Foreign Hi-Bs increased this year

First of all, that link doesn't address the reductions in 2009 and 2010. Second, your article is about an editorial from the Boston Globe that asked for an increase, not an actual increase itself. Third, it only says requests increased, not issuances. And fourth, it mentions a cap of initial issuances (65,000) that is lower than the initial issuances (76,627) from the 2010 report.

And, if you've ever taken the time to visit Cupertino, Santa Clara, San Jose, etc. etc (Silicon Valley), I think you'd sing a very different tune. The sheer abuse of foreign worker programs in American high tech is nothing short of stunning, and criminal!

You're talking about total employment over the course of a year that is less than the single-month average of created jobs in the same year. Wrong-headed, yes, but stunning and criminal? C'mon.

Oh, and unless you've personally asked every single one of the workers you're talking about their immigration status, your assertion about Silicon Valley is kind of racist and xenophobic.

American corporations are not penalized for off-shoring. That's a policy decision! They get to replace American workers, and keep the profits form low wage slaves, or cheap educated labor. THAT policy, and all the other myriad policies that are on the periphery of outsourcing. Do some freakin' research!

You're the one making the claim about all the policies, the burden of proof is on you. Oh, and get the terminology right. There's a difference between outsourcing (which only refers to a single organization or company), offshoring (which only applies to where a company's legal HQ is, not personnel), and offshore outsourcing (which is what we're talking about).

Are you trolling? It's been OBVIOUS for tha last 3 years that the economic downturn has been a disaster for municipal governments. Sales tax revenues, infrastructure investment, etc. etc. It's not the GOP, universally.

Maybe not universally, but they control 27 state legislatures (including the "non-partisan" but conservative Nebraska) and have 29 governors seats. 22 states have a one-party government. Yes, the economic downturn was part of the reason, but there's a lot of people who are just using it as an excuse to cut what they see as dead weight to please the Randroids. And we haven't even got into the decades of anti-labor laws directed at killing off the public sector passed by GOP legislatures and governors beforehand. And like I said, there was a lot of stimulus to state governments that was either taken out of the bill by Republicans (to the tune of ~$150billion) or refused by governors and/or legislatures because it was from a librul socialist muslin. From a political standpoint, the stimulus usually doesn't get the credit for state-level government funding, and never from a GOP governor.
posted by zombieflanders at 5:38 AM on September 28, 2012


[A couple of comments deleted; Vibrissae, day off for fuck you-ing and personal attacks.]
posted by taz at 6:30 AM on September 30, 2012


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