Last month’s figures from the Labor Department showed the largest increase in payroll numbers since March of 2007. Headlines all over the country reported that 162,000 new jobs were created and that the long-awaited “recovery” was well underway. In the fine print, however, it was revealed that 48,000 temporary Census workers were included in that glowing report, and that unemployment remained at 9.7% for the third consecutive month.

As many people know, figures don’t lie but liars figure. Reporting on that Labor Department release, the Gallop Daily tracking found that:

“Underemployment In The U.S. Rises To 20.3% In March”

“Nevertheless,” the report stated, “behind the rosy headlines, data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also give a grim side of the employment picture. The number of long-term unemployed (more than 27 weeks) in March rose to more than 6.5 million. The percentage of people unemployed for 27 weeks or more also rose to a record 44.1% of all jobless.

“The Labor Department figures also showed average earnings per hour dropped last month and the number of people working part-time because they couldn’t find full-time work increased.

“The unemployment rate – which includes the part-timers and people who want work but have given up looking – increased to 16.9% from 16.8%, based on government date, ‘seasonally adjusted’.

“However, the latest Gallop Daily tracking finds that 20.3% of the U.S. workforce was underemployed in March – a slight uptick from the relatively flat January and February numbers. Gallop employment data are not ‘seasonally adjusted’.” –

The Stock Analyst report raises an interesting question: “So what can be done about it?”

1. Congress has repeatedly extended unemployment benefits for longer periods to help workers cope. But that hasn’t created any jobs.
2. And Congress recently passed a jobs bill giving employers a tax credit for hiring workers. But that hasn’t created any jobs either.

Unfortunately, analysts are saying that any meaningful job creation programs would require more deficit spending on a new stimulus bill, which is politically impossible in an election year, so we are pretty much in the predicament described by Secretary Geithner on NBC’s “Today” show:

Unemployment “is still terribly high and will stay unacceptably high for a very long time,” he said.
[Mr. Secretary: It was FDR’s Three Emergency Shipbuilding Programs that created the millions of jobs that brought an end to the Great Depression in the 1930s. You should check it out.]