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Question -- where category does "burger flipping" belong to anyway, is that "leisure & hospitality"?

Also, anyone care to comment on why the BLS survey showed a net increase of 700,000 but the gain in "payroll employment" is 94,000? I realize there is a survey for one and some other methodology for payrolls, but what does such a big difference really mean?

Job growth has been trending down for 2 years. It's not a pretty picture.


Isn't the issue when it comes to job quality, how many of those 484,000 jobs are endogenous?

For instance, 322,000 professional and business (P&B) jobs were created in the last year. Applying a 1.2% growth rate (the overall payroll growth rate for the past 12 months) to the 17.726 million P&B employment base last year would yield endogenous growth of 212,000 jobs. On that assumption, the true improvement in job quality is only 110,000 in the P&B category.*

This job quality meme needs to be firmed up more.

*The actual growth rate for P&B over the last 3 years is 2.9%.

What have the Social Security receipts told us about wage gains? My thought process is if all wage gains go to the wealthy, those gains would not be subject to Social Security taxes because of the cap (capital gains and dividends are also not). The increase in year to year Social Security receipts should be due to job growth, inflation, and wage gains below the cap. If you subtract job growth and inflation from the increase in receipts, what should be left is wage growth (for wages below the cap).

Excellent point, Mark; that would be an informative breakout. Do you have any numbers on it? If not, I'll put it on my to-do list (...which I may not get to for a while, by the way, due to an increase in the business workload).

"..well, sure, GDP is growing, and unemployment is low, and the economy is adding jobs, but all the new jobs are low paying, entry level, burger flipping-type jobs, so Bush is misleading us and maliciously ignoring the plight of the little guy when talking about job growth. It's obvious that America is on the brink of economic oblivion. Right?"


9:48 PM

(Skeptical Optimist posting at Back Talk)

you and engram have an established, if probably unconscious, technique:

1. misunderstand what "the left" (whoever that is supposed to be!) is saying

2. focus on a narrow range of statistics

3. declare victory over the strawman!

The 'Skeptical Optimist' thinks he is showing statistics (follow his link) that indicate that the pool of jobs in america is improving, not getting worse. It shows 1.22 million new jobs added over the past year, and a wash in terms of the wage rates of new jobs over jobs lost. This looks good if you leave out aspects of everyday reality that are normally taken into account by people who know a little bit about how the american economy works.

First of all, the american population continues to increase every year. Because of that, economists use a rule of thumb that about 150k new jobs need to be created every month in order to keep up. That would amount to about 1.8 million new jobs a year. The S.O.'s statistics show only a 1.22 million increase, and in fact he (she?) cites an increase in 'official' unemployment from 4.5 to 4.7 over that time. This 'official' unemployment rate is based on the number of people filing unemployment claims, and is widely regarded as a gross underreporting of real unemployment.

Secondly, the chart confirms the big story of job change in the united states - that of the drift from long term skilled jobs, such as heavy manufacturing, with job security, pensions, and health insurance, to jobs, mainly in the service sector, with no pensions, no job security, little health insurance, and no benefit to the resume of the worker.

Look at your own chart:

job categories showing losses
-mfg, durable goods
-mfg, nondurables

jobs categories showing gains:
-education and health services
-leisure and hospitality
-professional and business services

Of course, the american economy remains fundamentally strong, and has shown no sign of collapsing. But everybody knows that 40 years ago most families kept afloat with only one wage/salary earner, and the numbers clearly show that the cost of housing and healthcare have both gone up more than four times as much as compensation in the past 30 years. In addition, whenever republicans lower the taxes of those making, like me, over 100k/year, the percentage of the tax burden paid by those making middle-class incomes increases. If you find that last statement hard to understand, i will provide you with the math.

So, what us 'leftist' critics are saying is simply that the numbers clearly show that middle class workers are getting less and less for their labor. If in 1960 a family could afford to pay off a 2.5k sq ft home in 5-10 years on the wages of one factory worker, and health insurance wasn't really common because it wasn't needed as much, whereas in 2007 the same family needs two wage earners to pay off a 1.5k sq ft home in 30 years, and health insurance is needed at at least $250/person if not provided on the job - it is clear to anybody with a memory of the past and the ability to balance a checkbook that things are getting tougher.

So, Engram Pangloss and Skeptical Optimist Pangloss, you who take such a superior tone in telling mr. and mrs. average american that you have studied a chart and declared that everything is for the best - beware of appearing like sophmores - Wise Fools.

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