Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics continued its monthly deceit and deception exercise. The December unemployment rate, according to the BLS, is 7.8 percent. In the same report, BLS announced that 155,000 new jobs have been created.
Immediately after the BLS released its statistics, major media outlets spun the falsely calculated data into an optimistic analysis which concluded that the economy is rebounding strongly, a vindication of President Obama’s policies. One headline read that the latest BLS figures, broadly referred to as the U-3 unemployment rate, prove Obama’s “naysayers” have been wrong all along. However keep in mind that under the U-3 definition some counted as employed could work as little as an hour a week.
If the naysayers include African-Americans, women and young adults, then their skepticism is justified. Unemployment for women rose to 7.3 percent in December from 7.0 percent while the rate for African-Americans increased sharply to 14.0 percent from 13.2 percent in November.
Even though December normally experiences a job creation spike in temporary positions because of seasonal retail shopping patterns, black employment fell in December from nearly 16 million to 15.8 million.
As for young Americans age 18-29, their plight is equally grim. Generation Opportunity, a national, non-partisan organization which advocates for what it calls millennials, announced that the overall non-seasonally adjusted December youth unemployment rate is 11.5 percent including Hispanics,12.2 percent and women, 10.4 percent.
A more comprehensive unemployment rate is the U-6 which counts all unemployed individuals 16 years and older seeking full-time employment (the aforementioned U-3 rate), marginally attached workers and those working part-time despite wanting full employment. Marginally attached workers include the discouraged who have given up the employment search. The December U-6 unemployment rate is 14.4; the 2012 average nearly 14.8 percent.
Analysts rarely address the question of which types of jobs have been created and, by extension, what wage they pay. The so called FIRE economy—finance, insurance and real estate—continued its twenty-year soft trend. Many of those jobs have commission based salaries. Manufacturing, once the backbone of the American middle class, continued its two decade decline.
On the other hand, low paying leisure and hospitality jobs remain strong. In the hospitality sector, the average wage is $13.41 per hour with 26 hours representing an average work week. Few leisure positions offer health care, paid vacation or pension programs.
Even the liberal Economic Policy Institute unequivocally stated that the job market is stuck in a depressingly deep hole—4 million jobs away from returning to pre-recession employment levels. Add the jobs that should be created in a normal economy and the United States is short nine million jobs. Assuming December’s growth rate, the EPI estimates that the labor market won’t catch up until the end of 2021.
As if all this discouraging news isn’t bad enough for beleaguered American workers, legal and illegal immigrants have taken two-thirds of the net employment increase since 2009 when President Obama took office. A Center for Immigration Studies found that 1.94 million more immigrants were working in the third quarter of 2012 than at the start of 2009 when the president was inaugurated compared to a 938,000 increase for natives during the same time period.
Despite overwhelming, irrefutable evidence that 20 million Americans are either unemployed or underemployed and equally compelling proof that authorizing more foreign-born workers adds to U.S. worker displacement, immigration remains on autopilot. An average 1 million new legal immigrants annually with work authorizations compete with Americans, often successfully, for scarce jobs.
The federal government’s craven immigration policy that hurts suffering, unemployed Americans is inexplicably set to continue in perpetuity.
Joe Guzzardi is a Californians for Population Stabilization Senior Writing Fellow whose columns have been syndicated since 1986. This column is distributed by Cagle Cartoons newspaper syndicate.