Jobs Report Blues — Paul Craig Roberts

Jobs Report Blues

Paul Craig Roberts

On Friday the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that there were 215,000 new jobs in March.

John Williams of ShadowStats.com reports that these “new jobs” result from the the Birth-Death model that “artificially inflates headline month-to-month payroll gains with add-factors that currently average well in excess of 200,000 jobs per month.”

In other words, the jobs are the product of a model’s assumption that unreported new start-ups created 200,000 more jobs than unreported business failures lost.

To look at the jobs report in a different way, assume March did bring 215,000 new jobs and ask, “which sectors had jobs gains?” The answer is the same as has been the case since I began years ago reporting on the payroll jobs report:

Retail trade accounts for 47,700 of the jobs.

Health care and social assistance account for 44,000 of the jobs.

Waitresses and bartenders account for 24,800 of the jobs.

Manufacturing lost 29,000 jobs.

Part-time jobs without benefits comprise a rising percentage of US employment.

In the 21st century the main source of corporate profits has been lower labor costs achieved by offshoring US jobs and by bringing in lower-paid foreigners on work visas. This practice stopped the growth of US real median family income. Federal Reserve policy kept consumer demand alive by expanding consumer credit, which substituted a rise in consumer indebtedness for the missing growth in consumer income. Today the growth of consumer credit is limited by the absence of income growth to service the debt.

In short, corporations maximized short-run profits by ruining their domestic consumer market along with the personal income and sales tax base for government. It is unclear that this extraordinary mistake can be unwound.