Dohiyi Mir
    In Which NTodd Says His Peace

Friday, November 07, 2003
Go to the new DM blog.


Bad Employment News For Dems?


Hardly. It's good news for America:

Employment rose in October, and the unemployment rate, at 6.0 percent, was essentially unchanged, the Bureau of Labor Statistics of the U.S. Department of Labor reported today. Nonfarm payroll employment rose by 126,000 in October, following a similar increase (as revised) in September.

That's great, and combined with the decline in initial jobless claims this week, perhaps it indicates real improvement.

However, I remain skeptical for a number of reasons.

1) We added 126k jobs, about the same we did the previous month. We need around 150-200k each month just to provide work for new entrants into the job market. So we're still short of breaking even, let alone getting back the 3 million jobs lost during Bush's tenure.

2) According to the BLS report: "In October, 2.0 million unemployed persons had been looking for work for 27 weeks or longer, about the same level as in September." So we still have a huge number of long-term unemployed persons. They are people who are in danger of losing homes, healthcare, etc, and still cannot find work.

3) BLS also says: "In October, 1.6 million persons were marginally attached to the labor force, 170,000 more than a year earlier." This includes 462,000 "discouraged workers". So we still have a huge number of jobless people who are not counted in the official unemployment numbers.

The unemployment rate doesn't tell the full story: we have a long, long way to go. Given some other things I've read (and alas, can't find again), there's disturbing stuff on the horizon in terms of anticipated layoffs and data to suggest that after Christmas we'll be right back to the downward trends. I hope all of this is wrong, but let's just see what happens come January.

As for good employment news being bad for Dems, I say hogwash. There are still a bazillion things Bush is doing wrong, such as running up huge deficits, ignoring the healthcare issues regular Americans face, BushCo's attempts to destroy safe workplaces, OT benefits, etc.

Some have even suggested that this is especially bad for Howard Dean, because somehow foreign policy and the war will become more important issues. Again I call bullshit. Dean has been speaking the truth about the war, and has acquitted himself wrt foreign policy over the course of the campaign. Oh yeah, and he's a fiscal conservative.

Further, Howie has shown he can energize the base, reach out to non-Dems, and most importantly, raise the money to take on Bush. He'll be able to fight through the noise generated by Bush's $200M bag of lies.

But I digress. Bottom-line: positive job numbers, but not good enough, Dems can still win.

ntodd 
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A non-violent, counter-dominant, left-liberal, possibly charismatic, quasi anarcho-libertarian Quaker's take on politics, volleyball, and other esoterica.

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