Nonfarm payroll employment was unchanged (0) in August, and the unemployment rate held at 9.1 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Employment in most major industries changed little over the month. Health care continued to add jobs, and a decline in information employment reflected a strike. Government employment continued to trend down, despite the return of workers from a partial government shutdown in Minnesota.The problem across US demographics is show by these numbers.
Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (8.9 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (25.4 percent), whites (8.0 percent), blacks (16.7 percent), and Hispanics (11.3 percent) showed little or no change in August. The jobless rate for Asians was 7.1 percent, not seasonally adjusted. (See tables A-1, A-2, and A-3.)Women are doing better than men, which could have long term cultural consequences, in that the norm in our society is for men to work and maybe women to stay home or maybe work. Do we have a way to keep those men busy? At this point they are not likely to become "homemakers". Large numbers of men at loose ends is not usually associated with calmness.
Much more troubling is that Blacks have a 16.7 unemployment rate. Black men are at 18% for August, while Black women are at 13.4%. Worse, Black teenagers are at 46.5%, twice what it is for Caucasian teenagers. These are the seasonally adjusted numbers.
Over at the Richard Howe blog has been a discussion of what the "science" of economics tells us. Frankly, there is a lot of certitude out there as to what works. Andrew, once of the blog contributors, things that NYT Columnist and Nobel Laureate Paul Krugman is correct is saying that we need to follow to proscriptions of Lord John Maynard Keynes. I am not so confident. I look across the Pacific to Japan and look back on a couple of decades of stagnation. I look forward a couple of decades here in the US and see what seem to be uncontrollable governmental growth, plus the danger of unfunded private pensions. Keynesian Economics is not "settled science".
Frankly, while I would like to study this more, I find that our delegation on Beacon Hill is standing in my way. I need to respond to State Senator Eileen Donoghue's recent EMail to me explaining that the "color of money" is standing in the way of my college education. As a "senior" (60 or over) I can take UMass Lowell Continuing Education courses for $30 a course (plus books). The trick is, that is only for courses taught in a classroom. If the course is taught on line I have to pay the full cost. The reason is that the two different methods of instruction are funded out of two different pots (colors) of money. One allows for this senior (and former military) benefit and one doesn't. While the folks on Beacon Hill were talking about giving "in state" tuition to "undocumented aliens" they could have easily cured this other problem, the result of new educational circumstances not anticipated by earlier bill writers and not coordinated with older law by later bill writers. The problem is, courses are going from classroom to the internet and doing it in a massive way.
In the mean time, I am thus reading what I can, including looking for a good history that talks to the Great Depression in its World-Wide aspects. Did it follow the same trajectory in the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Japan as it did in the US? What about Canada and Mexico, or Argentina, Brazil and Chile?
Regards — Cliff