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U.S. unemployment crisis continues

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Despite November’s unemployment statistic of 7%, the lowest since President Obama took office, the U.S. jobs picture remains bleak. Another U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics jobless measure, known as the “U-6”, which includes those marginally attached to the labor force, pegs the November figure at 13.2.

Economist John Williams, who publishes the Shadow Government Statistics website, questions the official unemployment numbers. In an analysis performed on the July unemployment rate of 7.4% reported by the U.S. Department of Labor, he found that the actual rate was 23.3%.

Williams takes into account vital information that the Bureau ignores. His review includes those that have simply given up looking, have managed to get on disability, or have replaced lost career-level positions with part time work at a small fraction of their former pay. When those factors are included, a more accurate picture of the actual unemployment rate emerges.

This is, according to all statistics, the worst jobs recovery period since the end of WWII, marked by rising part-time employment over full time jobs, declining wages, and increased workforce dropouts.

According to the U.S. House of Representative’s Ways & Means Committee, even many of those fortunate few who have found work and are counted as employed are actually working only part-time. Rep. David Camp, (R-MI) who has dug far deeper into U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data than most, notes that Seven out of eight new employees under President Obama have been part-time employees.”

Since January of 2009, when the current Administration took office, to July 2013, there has been a 7.14% increase in part time jobs, compared to an almost nonexistent 0.23% increase in full-time jobs, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The problem with part-time work isn’t only reduced pay. These employees generally don’t receive medical coverage, retirement benefits, and other perks available to their full-time counterparts.

By the President’s own standards, this represents a failure of his economic plan. Mr. Obama stated that “A well designed recovery plan will not only create numerous jobs, but also many jobs paying good wages and providing full-time employment.”“

The news gets worse.

A startling new study by the Mercatus Center revealed that during November, over 300,000 jobs, over 40% of all employment created, were in government. According to the Mercatus Center, which is a division of George Mason University, government employment made up more than 16% of the American labor market in 2012. That figure includes not just people actually working for the government, but also those positions financed by federal contract dollars.

The same study revealed some unpleasant facts about how badly the actual job market has been doing during the recent past, from 2007—2012. 41 states actually lost real private sector jobs, with the national average being a loss of 3%. Only North Dakota, with its vast natural resource boom, Alaska, and Texas made any substantial gains in private employment. South Dakota, New York, Louisiana, Vermont, and West Virginia had very slight gains.

As taxes continue at levels that discourage businesses from hiring and individuals from saving, more and more people are being hired by government, except in those areas that really count, such as defense. Incidentally, on defense, reports have been published that some service members are forced to rely on welfare to make ends meet.

The news on other economic fronts continues to be dismal, as well. According to the Federal Reserve’s Household Debt and Credit Report, outstanding household debt increased $127 billion from last quarter, the largest increase since 2008. Mortgages, student and auto loans, and credit card debt were the big culprits.

While there will be some statistical quirks indicating slight upticks in the jobs picture or the overall economy, these will be transient and ineffective in reducing the long-term trends that threaten the overall financial health of the nation. As taxes continue at levels that discourage businesses from hiring and individuals from saving, more and more people are being hired by government, except in those areas that really count, such as defense.

While there will be some statistical quirks indicating slight upticks in the jobs picture or the overall economy, these will be transient and ineffective in reducing the long-term trends that threaten the overall financial health of the nation.

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