Seventy consecutive months of job growth and counting, but …

Economy

The economy added another 292,000 jobs last month. Job-creation estimates for both October and November were also revised upward, adding 50,000 new jobs to previous estimates. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, “Over the past 3 months, job gains have averaged 284,000 per month.”

In 2015, the economy added a total of 2.55 million private-sector jobs, more than in any single year under President Bush. We’ve added private-sector jobs for 70 consecutive months now, the longest sustained stretch of job growth on record. And the labor force participation rate rose last month, with 466,000 Americans joining the workforce.

“The remarkable thing is how consistent employment growth has been over the past three or four years,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, told the New York Times. “We’re getting at least 200,000 jobs per month on a consistent basis. That’s quite an achievement.”

I don’t know about you, but such happy talk always makes me nostalgic. For example, remember when John Boehner used to recite the phrase “job-killing ObamaCare” every time he opened his mouth?

Since ObamaCare was signed into law, the economy has added 13.5 million jobs.

Remember when the likes of Rush Limbaugh were predicting that if Obama was re-elected, “we’re doomed” and a complete economic collapse was inevitable?

“There’s no ‘if’ about this. And it’s gonna be ugly. It’s gonna be gut-wrenching, but it will happen. The country’s economy is going to collapse if Obama is re-elected. I don’t know how long: a year and a half, two years, three years.”

And remember this guy, immediately after the 2012 election?

remember

Since that tweet, the economy has added another 8.45 million jobs. And even after its recent China-related decline, the Dow is up 3,700 points, an increase of 29 percent. Welcome to Barack Obama’s second term indeed.

And of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out Mitt Romney bragging back in 2012 that if he was elected president, he would use his managerial skill and business acumen to bring the nation’s jobless rate all the way down to 6 percent by January of 2017.

The jobless rate is now 5 percent, and it has been below the Romney target for January 2017 for the past 15 months.

Now, none of this means that we don’t face important economic challenges. We do. As economist Max Dvorkin writes at the St. Louis Federal Reserve, a long-term process of “job polarization” continues to gut the American working and middle class, and nobody knows what to do about it.

The economy is producing more high-paying managerial type jobs and also more low-paying service-type jobs. But the jobs in the middle — the routine office-type “cognitive” jobs and the routine, manual assembly-line and construction type jobs — are disappearing.

“As has been argued in the economic literature, the most likely drivers of job polarization are automation and offshoring, as both these forces lower the demand for middle-skill occupations relative to the rest,” Dvorkin writes.

BlogImage_LaborPolarization_122915

 

He concludes:

“Since the processes of automation and offshoring will most likely continue, it is expected that the disappearance of routine jobs in the U.S. will also continue. Understanding the impact of polarization on the labor market is important and remains an active topic of economic research.”

That’s a challenge for politicians as well as economists, because continued job polarization will drive  continued growing economic, social and political inequality.  And in the face of such change, I just don’t think that 20th century nostrums such as “lower taxes and less regulation” are in any way adequate to address it. I’m not saying the Democrats have the answer for it either, but at the very least they are willing to recognize that a profound economic shift is underway, and that how — and whether — we respond is going to shape the nature and character of this nation for generations.

What’s happening to people is not a result of them getting lazy. It is not a consequence of government handouts and it is certainly not a figment of their imagination. It is showing up everywhere in the economic data and more importantly in the daily lives of millions of Americans. And while there can be substantial rewards for clawing your way into the “nonroutine cognitive” workforce, where robots and $10-a-day overseas workers are less of a threat, not everyone can do that and there wouldn’t be enough jobs for everyone if they could.

Reader Comments 0

1753 comments
KUTGF
KUTGF

Bundy (Not AL) sheetz

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

What can I do? What can I dooo? I get that question a lot. What you can do destroy crony capitalism, neoconism, today's Republican pahhty (but i repeat myself) is pick up your little teeny metaphorical ball peen hammer that every consumer has, and

buy a Bolt, a GM Chevy Bolt

recycle, patronize the recycling plants

check the box on your Ga Power bill for solar (your location may or may not not have it)

don't watch or patronize advertisers on Faux 'news'

ditto Rush Limbaugh (ditto, heheheheh)

volunteer

100 other actions

Spend your money like it's a weapon, because it is

You are the 800 lb gorilla

You are 70% of the world's most powerful economy

Swing your little hammer, and make it HURT

You know why the cons are simultaneously goin so hard after Unions and at the same time going after Native sistah E Warren's Consumer Protection Div?

well now you do. They are scared to death the Americans Consumers Union will happen.

Make it happen. Swing your hammer. Make it HURT.

Give em a freeeee market solution right up their.....

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Oh noes!

"EXCLUSIVE: The FBI investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email as secretary of state has expanded to look at whether the possible “intersection” of Clinton Foundation work and State Department business may have violated public corruption laws, three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News. (Snip) One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.""

Kamchak
Kamchak

@OldEngineer 

If. We. Could. Only. Have. Just. One. More. Investigation.

#GameChanger

OldEngineer
OldEngineer

@Philo_Farnsworth EXCLUSIVE: Curly, Larry and Moe have been found: " three intelligence sources not authorized to speak on the record told Fox News"

Nick_Danger
Nick_Danger

It appears that New Republic is up for sale!  Any of y'all wanna chip in and...

fedup52
fedup52

Good news for the environmentally conscience people.  Coal extraction is dropping.  So is the use of coal.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

later, back maybe when/if Jay's got clean sheets.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

I suggest you Libbies should be more concerned of who you are running for president than the VW mess.

The VW emissions fraud is nothing, absolutely nothing compared to the damage Hills will do if elected.

We have a known liar in the WH now, and you guys want to replace him with a bigger liar.

I can understand you not liking policies of the Right.

I can't understand your support of Hillary and all the baggage she would bring.

Your lost, completely lost.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JohnnyReb

You're saying we "libbies" don't spend enough time fretting about Presidential politics?

am I reading this right?

Paul42
Paul42

@JohnnyReb

Time to update your talking points, JR.  Your media sources are getting lazy.

Check the latest polls on Hillary vs Sanders.

goat diddler
goat diddler

@JohnnyReb You said EXACTLY the same things about Obama, that's why you can't be taken seriously now...

Derp...

St Simons he-ne-ha
St Simons he-ne-ha

The best way to combat VW, capitalist corruption, govt complicity in said corruption, and create murican jerbs, while putting a fork in big oil, short of ropes & trees?

Buy a Bolt in 2017. Do it.

Paul42
Paul42

@Visual_Cortex

Same range as Tesla and considerably less expensive.  I looked at a Tesla.  Too darn big.  And all touchscreen with no knobs?  Forget it!


KUTGF
KUTGF

Oh and as long as we are going to start talking about outrages:
Oklahoma earthquakes caused by fraking that is continuing
Flint residents still not being provided alternative water sources nor poisoned kids being treated.
A methane gas leak in California that is poisoning people and will take months to stop
Many other abuses of the "market" that endanger human lives and that government should be protecting people against but because of the nonsense of "government bad, government regulation bad" and the knee jerk against good smart regulation and putting proper cost and regulation (and effective monitoring and enforcement on business), real humans are killed.
Millions spent "investigating" 4 dead in Benghazi, NOTHING spent by the GOP MI government to help the people on Flint and humans being harmed. 


KUTGF
KUTGF

@SFM_Scootter @KUTGF You can laugh but in MI it is the GOP's fault.  In fact, there was a coverup.  You must not be paying attention.  It would not be funny if your children were being poisoned permanently by lead.

SFM_Scootter
SFM_Scootter

@KUTGF @SFM_Scootter I have been here long enough for you to know I don't inform myself on most issues. Heck Jay's blog is where I get most of my news even. (seriously)

_GodlessHeathen_
_GodlessHeathen_

@KUTGF @fedup52 @SFM_Scootter 

"I understand the FBI is conducting an investigation."

I understand that FBI is investigating Hillary, also, but we know she is completely innocent of all charges.

fedup52
fedup52

@KUTGF @SFM_Scootter Michael Moore has floated the idea that Snyder should be behind bars.  

Poisoning children is a heinous crime.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@fedup52 @KUTGF @SFM_Scootter I understand the FBI is conducting an investigation.  The culmination of poor decisions that resulted in the poisoning seems to be eclipsed by what has happened since.

KUTGF
KUTGF

@SFM_Scootter @KUTGF That is truly a shame.  Even if I see something I was not aware of on here, I try to read other sources to be informed but to each their own.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

Cortex, how is the VW emissions scandal "utter depraved indifference to human life?"

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Visual_Cortex @JohnnyReb Someone or more should go to jail at VW, but you are over the top with the depraved indifference to human life.

Now, a faulty ignition switch which did in fact cause loss of human life IS depraved indifference.  How many at GM has gone to jail?

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JohnnyReb @Visual_Cortex

first off--I've no beef with bringing GM into the discussion, and I can see a case to be made for imprisonment there as well.

But as for my use of depraved indifference? Nitrogen oxide, 40x the allowable levels, every time those cars cranked over? That's nasty. At some point someone will calculate how much of a public health hazard that wound up being, and how many cases of asthma, etc., could be attributed to it.

It's regulated for a reason. It's dangerous. And VW just didn't care.

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JohnnyReb @Visual_Cortex

Yup.

I mentioned the media, by the way. Reason for that? I used to be quite the "car guy," inasmuch as I knew just about every model's engine displacement options, HP, 0-60 times, etc., but wasn't following that real closely in the last decade or so. When you look at what VW was delivering in terms of MPG and HP, and how close those were to their European counterparts (which did NOT have to meet US standards--a trade-off Europe made in favor of reducing greenhouse emissions, one Europe have come to regret now), something should’ve seemed super-fishy. Someone covering the industry should’ve been asking tough questions about performance that was, clearly, too good to be true. And I don’t think anyone was, not for a long time.

 
/into-the-weeds

Visual_Cortex
Visual_Cortex

@JohnnyReb

Knowingly conspiring to poison our air for nigh on ten years.

And the corporate media continue to treat it like some kind of "cheating scandal." (that it is, too, of course--they also cheated hundreds of thousands of consumers who thought they were helping Planet Earth by purchasing an unconventional [here in the US] type of vehicle that promised to deliver better fuel economy, if through more expensive (usually) fuel. But those are side issues.)

KUTGF
KUTGF

@honested @JohnnyReb but but air is free............  there is no cost if it just kills you slowly or degrades your health or changes the planet (cue the denial in 3...2...1). 

fedup52
fedup52

@JohnnyReb @Paul42 An apple a day keeps a doctor away and orange a day will keep two doctors away.  They do the same job.

Paul42
Paul42

@JohnnyReb

You asked how polluting the air is 'utter depraved indifference to human life."  I showed you a real-world event illustrating indifference to human life with a company's waste water.  And how somebody in the know reacted to the polluted water when it was their health at stake, not someone else's health.

So air is apples and water is oranges.  But there's a bigger concept I'm sure you get.