fresh voices from the front lines of change







The news is just out, the economy added a healthy number of new jobs last month, even with government jobs still declining thanks to austeridiocy. The better news is that there is an accelerating trend. The bad news, no help for the long-term unemployed and the charts are still scary.

True Story

This is a true story: I am on a bus from DC to NY. It’s a great bus, nice seats, wifi… On the bus I’m checking and the jobs report comes out: U.S. adds 243K jobs in January; unemployment rate drops to 8.3%.

“You got to let me off the bus! I got a job!”

So passing through Baltimore this guy on the bus gets a phone call, goes up to the driver, saying, “You got to let me off the bus, I got a call, I got a job. You got to let me off the bus!”

So I guess maybe there’s really something going on with jobs!

The Numbers

From the WaPo, U.S. adds 243K jobs in January; unemployment rate drops to 8.3%,

The nation’s unemployment rate dropped for the fifth straight month to 8.3 percent, its lowest level in three years, the Labor Department reported Friday, with widespread hiring across the economy.

The number of jobs grew by 243,000, the government said.

Manufacturing Adds 50,000

Manufacturing added 50,000 jobs. AAM statement:

“The 50,000 manufacturing jobs added in January is impressive. January recorded the highest monthly gain in factory jobs since August 1998. The surge in job growth is a clear sign that American manufacturing can be competitive globally. I believe it is possible to keep this momentum going. President Obama is right to focus on an array of policies to boost domestic manufacturing jobs, and we need Congress to act. There is still a long way to go to get manufacturing jobs and output above pre-recession levels.”

Still Bad For Long-Term

Still bad news for long-term unemployed, though:

But although the hiring was described as an encouraging sign by economists, there seemed to be little movement among the ranks of the long-term unemployed and discouraged workers. The number of long-term unemployed, people have who have been jobless for 27 weeks or more, was little changed at 5.5 million, the report said. They accounted for 42.9 percent of the unemployed.

The number of people employed part time because their hours had been cut back or because they couldn’t find full-time work also held steady in January, at 8.2 million.

Moreover, the number of people the Labor Department classifies as “marginally attached” to the economy held steady at about 2.8 million.


Statement by CAF’s Bob Borosage:

“Austerity continues to impede the recovery. Government employment was flat last month, but state and local governments project more cuts. Austerity in Europe is driving the EU and the United Kingdom into recession. U.S. exports will suffer accordingly, even without a Greek default or a financial calamity. U.S. government spending will be constricted by the budget deals.”

The Scary Jobs Chart

From Calculated Risk:

Posted from the bus, somewhere in Maryland.

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