Old News

To that list of well-known oxymorons – jumbo shrimp, military intelligence, wedded bliss, act naturally, pretty ugly, etc., etc. – we can now add another. Jobless recovery.

But it’s more than just an oxymoron. It’s a myth. CNNMoney.com treated this deception last week in an article that merits attention. “Stop the ‘jobless recovery’ madness!” it began.

“An economy that isn’t creating employment opportunities simply isn’t doing its job.”

Colin Barr, a senior writer, went on to state, “It’s time to stop glorifying our economic doldrums with this ‘jobless recovery’ nonsense …

“The U.S. has lost jobs in 22 straight months, and Friday’s news that 10.2% of the labor force is out of work – the highest reading since 1983 – shows just how far we have to go.

“Without better job prospects, the consumers whose spending makes up the lion’s share of economic activity will remain tightfisted. That will slow the healing of deep wounds in the housing and financial markets.

“‘To have a real recovery you need to put people to work,’ said John Harrington, who runs Harrington Investments, a socially responsible asset management firm in Napa, Calif. ‘Right now we aren’t doing that.’

“The term ‘jobless recovery’ was used mostly as a pejorative when it came into circulation in the 1990s. But in the wake of last year’s meltdown, it has taken on a new sense: If you give it time, economic growth will come …

“Yet Friday’s headline unemployment number was worse than economists expected, and it wasn’t the only bad news. The average workweek remains short by historical standards – suggesting many employed people are working fewer hours than they’d like. People are staying unemployed longer and losing their benefits, in spite of recent government action to extend them.

“A short week isn’t just a sign of distress for cash-strapped workers. It also says it will be some time before employers start hiring again.

“‘Particularly with future uncertainty as high as it is, firms are more likely to increase the hours of underemployed workers before hiring unemployed workers,’ wrote Janney Montgomery Scott economist Guy LeBas in a note to clients Friday.

“Because output fell so sharply following the oil shock and Lehman Brothers collapse, some pundits are banking on a sharp rebound. But job and wage growth have been weak for a decade. Total private employment has dropped since the Yankees held their previous victory parade – in 2000.

“That means there has been no net private sector job growth over a nine-year span where the U.S. population expanded by 11%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Meanwhile, financial institutions remain unhealthy, with 140 banks having failed since the start of 2008. The few that seemed to have avoided the worst hits, such as the [questionably-licensed] Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, have made a mint on their trading desks – which thickens traders’ wallets but doesn’t do much for those seeking credit to start or expand a business.

“‘All that stuff just adds to the speculation and the market volatility,’ said Harrington. ‘I’d like to see them do more things that actually add to the economy.’”

The above comments were offered by Colin Barr on November 6, 2009. The following excerpts are taken from Paul Craig Roberts’ article entitled “Jobless Recovery Means Lurch To Left”.

“The U.S. continues to lose jobs,” he begins. “Pundits call it ‘the jobless recovery’. The economy is growing,” they say, “but jobs are not. Why? One economist recently blamed the absence of job growth on high U.S. productivity. Those who are working are so productive, he said, that their output meets demand, making additional jobs superfluous. His solution, apparently, is to make people less productive.

“I think that the jobless recovery is an illusion and that the U.S. economy is creating jobs – but not for Americans. Those jobs have not been lost. They have been moved offshore and given to foreigners who work for less. The service economy was supposed to take the place of the lost manufacturing economy. Alas, those jobs, too, are being created for foreigners. It turns out that it is even easier to move service jobs abroad. For example, 170,000 computer system design jobs – 13% of the total – have recently been shifter abroad. Keeping knowledge-based jobs in the U.S. is proving as difficult as keeping manufacturing jobs.

“Outsourcing, offshore production, work visas and the Internet make it easy for U.S. companies to substitute cheaper foreign employees for U.S. employees. Entrepreneurs in India have created firms that specialize in supplying skilled labor to U.S. corporations. The growth in the U.S. economy thus brings about a growth in foreign employment, not in U.S. employment.

“If this analysis is correct, U.S. job seekers will no longer be able to tell the difference between recovery and recession. In the old economy, people lost jobs when the Federal Reserve caused a recession by curtailing the growth of money and credit. In the new economy, they lose their jobs because foreigners work for less.”

[The above “excerpts”, by the way, were taken from an article Paul Craig Roberts wrote on June 9th, 2003! – which proves that the phony term “jobless recovery” is not a new one. It was – and still is – a lot of nonsense, an illusion, a myth. But it’s more than all those things. It’s a lie – perpetrated, and perpetuated, by economists in their efforts to convince the unemployed that, “If you give it time, economic growth will come.”]

But no matter how they slice it, it’s still baloney!