News Release

Jobs Numbers, Labor Day


MAX FRAAD WOLFF, mfwolff at
Wolff is an instructor at the Graduate Program in International Affairs at the New School University and senior analyst with Greencrest Capital. He just wrote a blog entry analyzing jobs numbers released this morning: “For the second time in monthly jobs report history we have created no new jobs. … The broad U-6 measure of unemployment rose to 16.2 percent in August. This measure includes people who have stopped looking and who are involuntarily part-time.

“We continue to see consistent and large job losses at the local government level. We have now seen this for many, many months. It is particularly alarming to see cuts remain concentrated among those who work in public schools. … It would be hard to imagine a worse way to cut public spending. … Productivity has been strong during the great recession and ‘recovery’ over the last three years. Productivity gains have been significant and have gone, nearly entirely, to profits. … Summer 2011 saw the highest youth unemployment rate ever reported in the over six decades of numbers that we have.”

STEVE EARLY, lsupport at
Early is the author of the new book Civil Wars in U.S. Labor. He just wrote the piece “Pension Changes Create Labor Strife.”

LORI WALLACH, via Bryan Buchanan, bbuchanan at
Wallach is director of Public Citizen’s Global Trade Watch. She said today: “Everyone expects Obama’s jobs plan and related speeches to include a pitch to pass Bush’s leftover Free Trade Agreements with Korea, Colombia and Panama. We got the preview of this during Obama’s bus tour. Problem is, whatever one thinks about the idea of ‘free trade,’ the federal government’s own studies predict that these three deals would increase the U.S. trade deficit — costing more jobs than they create.” See PDF of Public Citizen’s reporter’s memo.

Lichtenstein is professor of history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he directs the Center for the Study of Work, Labor and Democracy. He is the author of State of the Union: A Century of American Labor and The Retail Revolution: How Wal-Mart Created a Brave New World of Business.

Lichtenstein said today: “This Labor Day President Obama needs to forthrightly defend the great democratic tradition embodied in the American trade union movement. He does not need the approval of the Republican caucus in the House of Representatives in order to celebrate the work, values, and potential of this bedrock Democratic Party constituency.”

He wrote the piece “Why Everyone Needs Unions” for Politico.