In 2014, we added 2.95 million jobs. That’s great, but …

The U.S. economy added another 252,000 jobs last month, dropping the unemployment rate to 5.6 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In addition, previous job-growth estimates for October and November proved to be too low, and were raised by a total of 50,000.

All in all, the U.S. economy added 2.95 million jobs in 2014, the largest annual increase since 1994. The number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons — meaning they wanted but could not find full-time jobs — dropped by 1.2 million. Since 2009, the economy has added 10.7 million jobs, the largest five-year increase since 1995-2000. Private-sector job growth has been even more impressive, jumping 11.2 million in the last five years.

jobless

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

Of course, to hear Sen. Mitch McConnell tell it, that five-year record of growth can be attributed to the fact that Republicans took control of the U.S. Senate a few days ago, an event so recent that it can’t even be plotted on the chart above.

However, the news from the BLS was not entirely encouraging:

“In December, average hourly earnings for all employees on private nonfarm payrolls decreased by 5 cents to $24.57, following an increase of 6 cents in November. Over the year, average hourly earnings have risen by 1.7 percent. In December, average hourly earnings of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees decreased by 6 cents to $20.68.”

Think about that. The stock market is soaring. According to Bloomberg News, “CEO compensation at large U.S. companies was 204 times higher than the pay of workers on average in 2013, up 20 percent since 2009.” And in the past 15 years, corporate after-tax profits have almost quadrupled over what were already record all-time highs.

corpprof

Yet over that same 15-year time frame, the average wage of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees has risen by a whopping $1.32 an hour, adjusted for inflation. Median household income, again adjusted for inflation, has fallen by $5,000. The share of our nation’s economic output that ends up the paychecks of working people has also fallen significantly over that time frame, a trend that shows no sign of reversing.
laborshare
The fact that such trends are continuing, even as the unemployment rate falls and the economy expands, ought to be troubling to most Americans. It seems to me that we have four basic choices on how to respond to it:
  1. Do nothing, writing off the trend as the inevitable, sancrosanct verdict of a supposedly free market. That also means accepting its debilitating impact on the middle class and on our political culture;
  2. Accept the trend as inevitable, but attempt to compensate for its impact on the vast majority of Americans through government programs;
  3. Recognize that the trends may not be the inevitable, sancrosanct verdict of a free market but instead may be the product of government policies that have favored the interests of capital over those of labor, and those of Wall Street over Main Street;
  4. Take the Republican approach, which argues that the trend is the result of government policies that have been insufficiently deferential to capital. Under that theory, tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations and reduced spending on social programs, from Medicaid to Social Security, will produce a more equitable outcome.

Which do you choose?

————-

UPDATE:

For those conservatives who insist that the rapidly improving jobless rate has been driven by a decline in those Americans willing to work — aka the labor participation rate — well, we have a chart for that too:

laborAs I mentioned in comments, that’s actually a pretty strong performance if you consider that 10,000 Baby Boomers are dropping out of the job market each and every day as they reach retirement age:

10,000 retirees a day X 365 days = 3.65 million fewer Baby Boomers participating in the job market.

Yet despite that strong demographic trend, the overall participation rate hasn’t changed.

Reader Comments 0

611 comments
Bill OrvisWhite
Bill OrvisWhite

With this president's refusal to create job$ over at the Keystone Pipeline along with "his" heavy tax burdens, unfunded mandates, draconian regulations, it's no wonder that this once-free nation is in peril. Oh yes, there are millions out of work or underemployed! Plus, we have nearly 20T in ObamaDebt which is stealing from our grand-kids. Does anyone remember that our S & P was downgraded under this weak-kneed "leader?" I pray that this new Congress quickly builds this much-needed pipeline/job$ bill, provides us with tax relief and lifts regulations. If They do this along with a quick impeachment/removal process, there might be a chance that we can fix the damage that has been inflicted upon us. GOOD NIGHT! Amen, Bill 

Corey
Corey

Jay, refresh my memory did conservatives parse the numbers regarding job growth when one of theirs was residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. 

The Doom
The Doom

Interesting that Jay would pick a 15 year time frame which coincidentally occurs with cyclical peaks right before recession and the dot.com bust in 2001 and the great recession of 07-08. Reminds me of when people like Krugman or Piketty use data with starting points of 1973 or 1979


"Yet over that same 15-year time frame, the average wage of private-sector production and nonsupervisory employees has risen by a whopping $1.32 an hour, adjusted for inflation."


Yeah. Well if you start with a cyclical peak of right before the dot.com bust and include 2 recessions then of course you will get this kind of skewed result. 


"Median household income, again adjusted for inflation, has fallen by $5,000."


Of course. And the same thing has happened numerous other times right after severe recessions- such as after 1973 and in the early 80s during the 81-82 recession. Nothing more than a short term trend that has historically corrected itself. 


"The share of our nation’s economic output that ends up the paychecks of working people has also fallen significantly over that time frame, a trend that shows no sign of reversing"


Again. Short term trends that have occurred previously after recessions. Furthermore, when you mention the share of output that ends up in working people's hands you are yet again engaging in at least a few fallacies. First of all income is not shared or "distributed". Secondly, the zero sum fallacy of income distribution seems to be alive and well with you. Thirdly, you're not Nostradomus Jay. To state that this trend shows no sign of reversing is ridiculous. Economic history says you're wrong and on top of that you're simply not capable of predicting the future. 



JayBook
JayBook moderator

@Dynasty "Interesting that Jay would pick a 15 year time frame which coincidentally occurs...."

Put another way, I picked a 15 year time frame that just happens to cover the last 15 years.

Brosephus
Brosephus

Gee Oh Pee immigration sheetz!!!!

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"Please continue to make wild guesses about me and where my information comes from.  It pleases me to see you continue to fall flat on your face."


Says the guy who make erroneous generalized comments about conservative business owners.  You're just not getting the irony of your ridiculous posts, are you?  

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@fiftythreepercenter "Says the guy who make erroneous generalized comments about conservative business owners."


No, says the guy who's OBSERVING DIRECTLY WHAT CON POSTERS HERE ARE SAYING.


"You're just not getting the irony of your ridiculous posts, are you?"


No, because there *is* none.  There's plenty of irony in *you* making uninformed guesses about where *my* information's coming from, though.  (laughing)  :D


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@fiftythreepercenter @Tuna Meowt "What conservative business owners on here have claimed they're trying to pay as little as possible to cheap labor?"


Where did I claim that *business owners* here said anything of the sort?  I clearly said "con posters here," and that's who I've aimed my comments at, your dishonest attempt at misrepresenting my position notwithstanding.


Pay closer attention and work on your reading comprehension skills, Pumpkin.  I haven't the time to spoon-feed details to your underachieving self.


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@fiftythreepercenter @Tuna Meowt "Nice dodge, Tuna."


No dodge here, Pumpkin.  I'm not responsible for the bullspit you IMAGINED I said or which you WANTED me to say.


i said what I said, and it had nothing whatsoever to do with what you've claimed.  If you disagree, then go back and read the entire thread.


"Nobody's buying you claiming conservative business owners want to pay people less because non business owners here said so."


I don't give a spit what you or anyone else buys.  I told you what I said and I told you who I aimed it at.  Anything else you have to say about it is merely you trying to make up grounds for criticism.


"Even a DA ain't buying that load."


Good thing, too, because the only one selling that "load" is *you.*  I didn't say it, and you simply made it up out of whole cloth.


"FAIL."


You certainly have.  (laughing)  :D


Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

OT:  Cons, is THIS the kind of complaining you want to hear from leading muslims?


Hezbollah Chief: Extremists Harm Islam More Than Cartoons


BEIRUT (AP) — The leader of the Lebanese Hezbollah group says Islamic extremists have insulted Islam and the Prophet Muhammad more than those who published satirical cartoons mocking the religion.


Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah did not directly mention the Paris attack on the offices of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead, but he said Islamic extremists who behead and slaughter people — a reference to the IS group's rampages in Iraq and Syria — have done more harm to Islam than anyone else in history.


# # #


http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/sheikh-hassan-nasrallah-terrorist-attack

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@Tuna Meowt Let run an idea by you to see what you think.What if all the news papers around the world put what Hebdo did on the front page and basically gave the terrorists a middle finger.I know that's a unreal scenario but just a thought.Would it just make things worse or what?

fedup52
fedup52

FedUp, off topic though this might be--did you ever learn...the REST of that story?

++++

Yes I did know the rest of the story.  What is your point.

The Doom
The Doom

Think about that. The stock market is soaring. According to Bloomberg News, “CEO compensation at large U.S. companies was 204 times higher than the pay of workers on average in 2013, up 20 percent since 2009.” 


Completely misleading statistic. CEO  pay is up because CEO pay is generally linked to stock option gains and performance. So naturally their pay is going to be higher in 2013 relative to avg workers than in 2009, when stock options were probably in the tank due to the deflated stock prices from the great recession. As the stock market rose, so did the compensation of CEOs. 


Moreover, you're also misleading people by mentioning CEO pay for one specific year- 2013. When CEOs exercise stock options in a particular year those options are pay for performance that spans several years- not just the year that they are being exercised. If CEO pay is larger for 2013 because CEOs exercised a lot of stock options that were granted in say, 2009, then that pay reflects performance performance over several years- not just 2013. 


"And in the past 15 years, corporate after-tax profits have almost quadrupled over what were already record all-time highs."


So. 

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Dynasty

Think about that. The stock market is soaring

***
I think about it quite frequently actually. 

And then I look at the economic fundamentals underlying it, and the state of the international economic system, and I start thinking of a champagne glass.

#bubbles

The Doom
The Doom

@consumedconsumer


So "spread the wealth". We already do. We spread it through subsidized health care costs via Obamacare, through 126 different federal anti-poverty programs, and through 401k contributions, which are statistically invisible gains for lower and middle class people that don't show up in these income disparity studies. The gains made by lower and middle class people via 401k and pension account appreciation is in the trillions. 

The Doom
The Doom

@LeninTime


Clearly we should revert to the Marxist system which made the former Soviet Union, Maoist China, North Korea, and Cuba such economic powerhouses. 

breckenridge
breckenridge

When I read fiftythreepercenter I'm reminded how in the Weimar Republic it was primarily among the small business owners and small proprietors that the Nazi party found some of its staunchest support.


Is Godwin a German name? No, I don't suppose it is.


Notice the whacks never try to pull any of their virgin-seeking missions here in the south.  Perhaps there are just too many guys with guns in pickups on the road, and they don't want that sort of immediate feedback.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@breckenridge

I think that people would do well to put aside this whole "Godwin's Law" thing completely, and the sooner the better. 

It's kind of obsolete now.

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Nick_Danger @LeninTime @breckenridge

Yeah, not to say that it doesn't have its place It's a humorous addition to the field of online lore because it described something true, and it may still have its uses. 

But under our current political conditions, it has a nefarious side-effect I think which is that it causes simple-minded people to get their back up unnecessarily when people attempt to draw parallels with our own period and the last time we had hothouse conditions for the rise of fascism, which was the period that saw the rise of Nazi Germany.

The Doom
The Doom

"All in all, the U.S. economy added 2.95 million jobs in 2014, the largest annual increase since 1994. The number of Americans working part-time for economic reasons — meaning they wanted but could not find full-time jobs — dropped by 1.2 million. Since 2009, the economy has added 10.7 million jobs, the largest five-year increase since 1995-2000. Private-sector job growth has been even more impressive, jumping 11.2 million in the last five years."


And exactly why would this not be expected? A good bit of what  we did was to simply  regain a lot of jobs that we had lost in the great recession. When you're at the very bottom in terms of jobs losses in January of 2009, as shown by Jay's own chart on jobs losses a few years ago, then the only place to go is up. 


The tell tale stat that matters more than anything is rate of economic growth. And we've averaged around 2% the last several years which is abysmal. The economy only really began picking up steam in terms of economic growth once the it was obvious the Rs were going to retain the House and retake the Senate in the 2014 elections. 

LeninTime
LeninTime

@Dynasty

The tell tale stat that matters more than anything is rate of economic growth

***
Indeed it is - which tells you something very significant about the most serious crisis of the capitalist system in 75 years. 

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Dynasty 

"The economy only really began picking up steam in terms of economic growth once the it was obvious the Rs were going to retain the House and retake the Senate in the 2014 elections."

Stupidest meme of 2015 so far?

The Doom
The Doom

@Nick_Danger


Then please dispute it with empirical data sir. This past qtr was robust growth of around 4%. Previous to that I think the average rate of economic growth under Obama was a paltry 1.9%.


The facts are not in dispute sir. 

TBS
TBS

@Nick_Danger @Dynasty


But you have to admit it is funny.  

Depending who is spinning or the argument needed it can be the POTUS regardless of who has which chamber or both or it is who has this or that chamber regardless of the POTUS.


KUTGF
KUTGF

@TBS @Nick_Danger @Dynasty  Interesting how a "quarter" that begins in October is "changed" by an election that changes the Senate only in November with no proof as to what period of the quarter the amazing growth took place.  Just one of the many fallacies. 

TBS
TBS

@Brosephus @Nick_Danger


All those regs and taxes Obama imposed on the oppressed corporations just went away with the impending Senate take over.

Pent up demand started flowing like water over Niagara falls.  


It is in the empirical data but for some reason hasn't been presented with dates and actual figures. 

Brosephus
Brosephus

@Nick_Danger 

As was asked earlier, and I can only paraphrase because I can't remember the exact wording:

Why is it that the impending takeover of Congress aided job growth but did nothing for wage growth at the same time?

Cherokee51
Cherokee51

@Dynasty  What an inane comment. Not true, first of all, but even if it were, there's no indication of cause and effect, except in the tortured minds of the righties.

The Doom
The Doom

@CherokeeCounty


From the same people who blamed the lackluster economic growth of the past 6 years on the House Republicans. Too funny!

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

@Dynasty @TBS 

Doomy, You're not a stupid guy, and you know where the trollism is in your statement.  :-)

The Doom
The Doom

@TBS


When did I specifically single you out and state that you yourself gave Obama credit for the economy? My statement was a generalized statement that applies to the progs in general. 

The Doom
The Doom

@Nick_Danger


So where is the trollism in simply stating that the economy averaged around 2% the previous 5 years under Obama- a pace well below historic norms of economic growth for the U.S. 

The Doom
The Doom

@Jackie_36


I wish I could sir. But the paltry economic growth record of around 2% the previous 5 years is simply a matter of economic reality. Its not something that's up for debate. It is what it is sir. 

Jackie_36
Jackie_36

@Dynasty @Jackie_36 What is up for debate is your realization of  the fact that the Repubs have impeded economic growth in every way they could.

In spite of those roadblocks, President Obama is still considered the best economic president in modern times.

You must have forgot to add sugar to your kool-aid.


http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/09/07/1327911/-Forbes-Magazine-Obama-best-economic-president-of-modern-times

http://www.creators.com/liberal/froma-harrop/obama-may-be-best-economic-president-ever.html

http://www.forbes.com/sites/adamhartung/2013/05/16/economically-could-obama-be-americas-best-president/

http://money.cnn.com/2014/12/05/news/economy/obama-economy/

TBS
TBS

@Dynasty @TBS


When did I give Obama credit for the economy? 

I'm not one who assigns all the blame or credit to any given POTUS or Congress and have said as much numerous times.

That is your fixation not mine.


But do enjoy a few cold ones and enjoy the weekend. 

peace

LeninTime
LeninTime

When I read fiftythreepercenter I'm reminded how in the Weimar Republic it was primarily among the small business owners and small proprietors that the Nazi party found some of its staunchest support. 

It is precisely among these social layers that you can see the most precise and early registration of very profound social anxieties, which very often forms the front ranks of emergent right wing political movements, e.g. the Tea Party. 

fiftythreepercenter
fiftythreepercenter

"the conservative conventional wisdom regarding paying as little as possible is clearly disproven by some high-visibility examples."


And what you consider to be "conventional wisdom" would be proven untrue if you paid more attention to actual business owners than to left wing propaganda sites.  

Tuna Meowt
Tuna Meowt

@fiftythreepercenter "And what you consider to be "conventional wisdom" would be proven untrue if you paid more attention to actual business owners than to left wing propaganda sites."


Which is why I'm not relying on *any* propaganda sites, left-wing or right-wing.


I'm responding to YOU and to your ideological fellow travelers who are posting *right here,* Pumpkin.


Please continue to make wild guesses about me and where my information comes from.  It pleases me to see you continue to fall flat on your face.