Calculated Risk Blog Retires The Scary Jobs Graph

Scary jobs graph

With the May jobs report, the U.S. economy is now back to pre-recession levels of employment. It took more than six years to climb out of the hole George W. Bush put us in (by “us” I mean everyone except the Wall Street millionaires and billionaires who are guilty of precipitating the collapse of the financial sector). That’s nearly as long as it took to recover from the Great Depression in the 1930s. On the Calculated Risk Blog, Bill McBride says, “I’ll be retiring the graph many called the ‘scariest jobs chart ever’.”

Although employment numbers have come back, (1) That only gets us to the same number of jobs we had in 2007, not to where we would have been without Bush’s Great Recession; (2) Unemployment would be higher than 6.3% if we counted the discouraged workers; and (3) Our economy has replaced too many living-wage jobs with low-wage jobs.

Jim Hightower, on AlterNet:

Employment rose by 217,000 jobs in the month of May, according to the latest jobs report — and that brought us up to 8.7 million. That is how many new jobs the American economy has generated since the “Great Recession” officially ended in 2009 — and it also happens to be the number of jobs that were lost because of that recession. You can break out the champagne, for the American economy is back, baby — all of the lost jobs have been recovered!

…Now, let’s move on to the value of those jobs that have economists doing a happy dance. As a worker, you don’t merely want to know that 217,000 new jobs are on the market; you want to know what they’re worth — do they pay living wages, do they come with benefits, are they just part-time and temporary, do they include union rights, what are the working conditions, etc.? In other words, are these jobs … or scams?

So, it’s interesting that the recent news of job market “improvement” doesn’t mention that of the 10 occupation categories projecting the greatest growth in the next eight years, only one pays a middle-class wage. Four pay barely above poverty level and five pay beneath it, including fast-food workers, retail sales staff, health aids and janitors.

…To measure the job market by quantity — with no regard for quality — is to devalue workers themselves. Creating 217,000 new jobs is not a sign of economic health if each worker needs two or three of those jobs to patch together a barebones living — and millions more are left with no work at all.

  1. #1 by brewski on June 19, 2014 - 10:55 pm

    The bubble started in 1995.
    The crash began in March of 2000.
    Bush became president in 2001.
    Get your history straight.

    • #2 by Richard Warnick on June 20, 2014 - 9:06 am

      You’re conflating the dot-com bubble and the housing bubble. The dot-com crash began in March 2000, that’s true but irrelevant. I lost $100 K in the dot-com crash, how about you?

      The price of my house on Zillow peaked in December 2007, then crashed by more than half by May 2010. Now it’s still down 20 percent from the peak. How about your house, brewski? I’ll bet it’s a similar story.

      What’s true and relevant is that Bush was the first President since Herbert Hoover to have a net loss of America jobs. Wages declined, poverty rose. And Bush’s Great Recession & Crash cost us 8.7 million jobs. The lost productivity of the past 6-7 years can never be recovered.

      • #3 by brewski on June 20, 2014 - 2:26 pm

        They are all part of a credit bubble which started in 1995 and the excess credit went into all sorts of stuff things including mortgages to people who couldn’t pay them back and to start up who had no business. It is all one big asset bubble.

  2. #4 by Richard Warnick on June 20, 2014 - 10:05 am

    Elizabeth Warren on creating jobs: ‘This isn’t magic, we actually know how to do this’

    Saying that we spent years investing in education, research, and infrastructure that built a robust economy, Warren laid the blame for America’s current woes on Republican ‘trickle down’ policies of the 1980?s

    “It changed in the 1980?s when the Republicans came up with a different vision,” she explained. “They said, ‘Eh, that’s not how you build an economy. The way you build an economy is you let those at the very top, the richest and the most powerful, keep more of their money and more of their power, and somehow it’s going to trickle down for everybody else.’”

    “Well we tried that, for more than thirty years and it really hasn’t worked. It has cut the legs out from under America’s middle class.”

    • #5 by brewski on June 20, 2014 - 2:27 pm

      Myth. Warren is an idiot and a liar.

  3. #6 by brewski on June 20, 2014 - 2:32 pm

  4. #7 by Ronald D. Hunt on June 20, 2014 - 8:03 pm

    bah comments not going through!

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