The Bureau of Labor Statistics released January’s jobs numbers and there was good, mediocre and bad news all mixed in to the report. Overall, the unemployment rate dropped to a five-year low of 6.6%. At the same time, the labor participation rate also increased, meaning more people are out there looking for jobs. At the same time, the number of new hires in January was 113,000. While this is an increase from December, this is below the monthly average 194,000 during 2013.
The BLS revised their numbers for November and December upward, helping explain the slight drop in the unemployment rate. Last month’s rate was at 6.7%. November was revised up 33,000 to 274,000 while December’s was revised up 1,000 to 75,000. As far as what industries and sectors were hiring, construction made a big rebound. In December, it showed a net loss of 22,000. In January, construction added 48,000 jobs. This could be attributable to the weather in December.
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Manufacturing continued to add jobs, as it showed in increase of 21,000 for the month. Another industry that is adding, not subtracting, jobs is healthcare. The industry stayed steady with its 2013 numbers, adding roughly 17,000 jobs in January. Apparently Obamacare is not killing jobs in the healthcare industry as many Republicans have predicted. One private sector area that saw job losses in January was retail trade. However, this is expected after the holidays.
Of course, as seems to be the case more often than not when reviewing job numbers, the public sector, otherwise known as government jobs, saw a net decrease in employment. For the month, public sector jobs saw a loss of 12,000 jobs. Most of these were from the Post Office. Perhaps some of that can be explained by post-holiday cutting of staff, but it more plays into the Republican playbook these past few years. Mainly, cut local, state and federal government jobs wherever and whenever you can.
The fact is , if we just add a moderate amount of public sector jobs on a monthly basis, we will see the unemployment numbers fall even more considerably. However, that doesn’t fall in line with modern conservative thinking because government=bad. Whenever the idea of adding government jobs is mentioned to Republicans, they dismiss it handily and say that the best way to increase jobs is to give tax breaks to corporations and rich people. It is all about coddling the so-called ‘job creators.’
However, the private sector is doing fine. It continues to add jobs at a decent rate in this current economy. What could make it even more robust is if we added public sector jobs at the same rate as the private sector. It would actually improve the private sector growth rate even more by placing more money into the economy via the newly employed, increasing demand and forcing certain private industries to increase their workforce.
This does not jibe with the Tea Party vision, though. Big government needs to be dismantled completely. Everything needs to be privatized, including basic services we all take for granted now. So we need to continue to cut the ‘waste’ in the government and get rid of as many civil service jobs as possible. (Except, of course, for elected officials, they need their paychecks.)
Unless the House becomes a Democratic majority after the mid-terms, we will continue to see this complete resistance from the GOP. They will continue to stand in the way of any real economic recovery, forcing the President and Senate Democrats to find other ways to get things done, or forcing the Dems to compromise extremely on certain areas like the budget. We will see long-term unemployment insurance continue to be rejected for no other reason than to be cruel to the unemployed and appeal to the hardcore base of the Republican Party.
Along those lines, the White House released a statement that reflected the increase in employment over the past few years but that there are many that are still suffering. Jason Furman, Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, had this to say on Friday:
Today’s report is another reminder of both the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain. Businesses have now added 8.5 million jobs over the last 47 months and the unemployment rate ticked down to its lowest level in more than five years. But the economy is still healing from the Great Recession and steps are still needed to expand economic opportunity. Given the elevated long-term unemployment rate, extending emergency unemployment benefits for the 1.7 million workers who lost them is critical. At the same time, the President will continue to focus on action, both pushing forward on priorities with Congress and using his pen and his phone to expand opportunity and growth.
We now have 1.7 million people that are long-term unemployed that are not receiving any income at all. They have had unemployment benefits eliminated altogether. At the same time, while Republicans won’t budge on creation of government jobs. We have seen the public sector shed nearly a million jobs since 2010. So they refuse to help those in dire need. Also, while they talk a big game about creating jobs, the easiest way for the government to create jobs is to do the hiring themselves. They won’t do that, either. So, what will they do? Nothing. That is the Party of No for you in a nutshell.
Justin Baragona is the Managing Editor at Politicus Sports as well as Senior Editor at PoliticusUSA. He was a political writer for 411Mania.com before joining PoliticusUSA. Politically, Justin considers himself a liberal but also a realist and pragmatist. Currently, Justin lives in St. Louis, MO and is married. Besides writing, he also runs his own business after spending a number of years in the corporate world. You can follow Justin on Twitter either with his personal handle (@justinbaragona) or the Sports site’s (@PoliticusSports).