August 4. Wall Street zipped up Friday because there was an estimated 163,000 more jobs created in July. But the number is deceiving. That number is put together by asking employers about new hires. The government does another survey where they knock on doors and ask if people are working. That survey found 45,000 less jobs.
As I’ve been saying for a long time the best measure of people without jobs is the percent of the adult population that’s working. The government calls it “Employment-population ratio”, the higher the number the better. In July that number dropped from 58.6% to 58.4%. That’s big.
How much have we recovered on jobs since the bottom of the Great Recession? At the start of the recession the ratio was 62.9% and then dropped like a rock. The recession “officially” ended in 2009, but the employment-population ratio kept falling till December 2010. It hit bottom at 58.2%
So the job situation has gotten better from the bottom by a pathetic 0.2% “Better” is relative, of course. It doesn’t measure the effect on young people who’ve never had a job or people over 50 who have lost jobs and who look month after month who fear they might never get another job.
Here’s another number: zero. That’s the amount of food the food bank in my city will be giving out this week. It had to close down, because private donations are way down, corporate giving is down and government subsidies are down. I live in rich south central CT. Imagine what it’s like in Stockton, CA or Allentown, PA.