Today's jobs report showed that the economy added 151,000 jobs in October, the biggest rise since May. The 159,000 increase in private sector employment was the second-largest monthly rise of the "recovery." The official unemployment rate stayed at 9.6 percent. NY Times: U.S. Added Jobs Last Month for First Time Since May,
On many levels, the October report was much stronger than expected. Forecasters had been expecting a gain of only 60,000 jobs. The report also revised the numbers for August and September, showing 110,000 fewer jobs losses than previously estimated. Hourly wages were slightly higher, too.
... A broader measure of unemployment, which includes people who are working part-time because they cannot find full-time jobs and people who have given up looking for work, ticked down slightly to 17 percent from 17.1 percent in September.
This might seem like good news -- until you think about it. We are so used to really bad news that new that just sort of OK sounds great. Dean Baker, writing at the Center for Economic and Policy Research,
At this rate it would take more than 15 years to make up the job shortfall from the downturn, but at least the economy is moving in the right direction.
Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve this week announced "quantitative easing," through which they will pump another $600 billion into the economy by purchasing US treasury bills, also known as "printing money." I guess the idea is to top off and overflow the coffers of the already-wealthy, thereby forcing up the price of stocks and other assets held by the already-wealthy, while keeping interest rates low on the savings of working and retired people. At the same time conservatives in Congress are demanding further extensions of tax cuts for the rich, which did so well stimulating jobs up to now. The thinking seems to be that at some point the really, really wealthy will have so astonishingly much extra cash on hand that they will hire a few more servants, which will then stimulate purchasing of necessities by said servants, which will then drive the economy.
It's time to call out this nonsense for what it is.
We Need A Bold Plan
It is time for the President to announce a BOLD PLAN for a job-creation agenda. (Actually, it was time for him to do this a year or two ago...) Here are three badly-needed 5-year plans:
* A 5-year plan to revive American manufacturing. This is how our country and our people can make a living again.
* A 5-year plan to bring America's infrastructure into the 21st century, making our economy competitive again.
* A 5-year plan to make our homes, buildings and electric grid energy efficient to lower our energy costs and reduce our imports of oil.
These are things that we have to do anyway. We have a lot of unemployed people, and any one of these three plans will put a huge dent in unemployment. Any one of these three revives our economy. Any one of these three restores American competitiveness. ALL THREE restore us as the economy leader in the world.
And, the politics will be good because it is what is needed and good for the country and everyone knows it.