News Release

Unspinning Today’s Unemployment Numbers


An economist with the Center for Economic and Policy Research, Boushey said this afternoon: “Payroll employment grew by only 57,000 jobs in November and unemployment fell to 5.9 percent. November’s employment is still 235,000 jobs fewer than last year, even though the economy has added 328,000 jobs since July. While there are some positive indicators, the overall employment picture is much weaker than is typical during a recovery. November’s job growth is much lower than the previous two months, indicating that the labor market is not picking up. Manufacturing continued to shed jobs, losing 17,000 last month, although the rate of job loss is slowing…. Nominal wage growth has virtually stopped; the average hourly wage is up by only $.01 since August. The 0.8 percent annual rate of growth for the quarter is far less than the rate of inflation.” CEPR produces “Jobs Byte,” published each month upon release of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ employment report.
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LAWRENCE MISHEL, [via Karen Conner]
President of the Economic Policy Institute, Mishel said this afternoon: “The number of new jobs is far below the administration’s promise of 306,000 new jobs each month as a result of the recent tax cut. The plan the president declared a success is now 1.25 million jobs short of administration projections of jobs that would be created through the so-called Jobs and Growth Plan implemented in June…. We need 150,000 jobs per month just to maintain unemployment at the current level and to keep up with the population entering the workforce, and we haven’t seen that amount of growth in more than two and a half years. The president leads another economic event today near Baltimore, even though Marylanders lost 21,500 jobs since the administration’s plan took effect. If the president’s plan had worked as the administration said it would, Maryland should have gained 25,400 jobs.”
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Community organizer with Progressive Maryland, which recently conducted a successful “living wage” campaign, Ako-Adjei said this afternoon: “The significant loss of jobs in Maryland shows that President Bush’s economic plan only benefits the wealthiest in society and is harmful to working families.”
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Co-director of publications for the National Jobs for All Coalition and professor emeritus of economics at Brooklyn College, Ginsberg said today: “There is systemic undercounting in the unemployment numbers. People who are under-employed, even if they are just working an hour a week, are not counted as ‘unemployed.’ Also, we know from other data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that millions of people want a job but have not actively looked for one in the last month — they are discouraged, think they cannot find anything. These people, similarly, are not counted in the ‘unemployment’ numbers which are widely reported.”
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For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167