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Blog: Is 8.6% Unemployment a Real Improvement?

Dec 02, 2011 | By Marge Clark, BVM

The unemployment numbers for November were released the morning of Dec. 2. WOW, a move from 9.0% to 8.6%, isn’t that good news? Not so fast. There was a net gain of only 120,000 jobs. Two pieces of information are important to note:

  • 140,000 jobs were gained in the private sector; offset by 20,000 jobs lost in the public sector (state, federal and municipal workers – including teachers, police, firefighters and those responsible for assisting the unemployed and others who need assistance from government programs).
  • 315,000 dropped out of the workforce (stopped looking for jobs, became ineligible for unemployment insurance assistance), which gives a false sense of the job scene improving.

JOBS are needed. The private sector cannot absorb all those who are unemployed, as people don’t have money to purchase their products – because many are unemployed or underemployed, and there has been no improvement in pay. There is much work needing to be done in this nation, which requires public employment – remember the hundreds of bridges proven to be unsafe after the collapse of the I-35W in Minneapolis! Education payrolls dropped by 24,000 in September 2011. The numbers of children attending schools did not show parallel declines, indicating that there are fewer school staff to meet the needs of more children – higher class sizes, fewer course options and other declines.

The decline in federal money going to states to support the social safety net must be reversed. As the federal government continues to find ways to reduce spending, it is causing escalation in unemployment numbers – and the cycle closes:

Federal Government reduces spending by curtailing services

LEADS TO

Job loss à Lack of money to purchase needed items

LEADS TO

Retail can’t support staff due to lack of sales lack of sales

LEADS TO

Reliance on federal and state assistance to meet basic needs

LEADS TO

....Return to “Federal government reduces spending…” (above).