Op-ed: An Alternative Look at the Monthly Jobs Report
As it does regularly, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its May monthly jobs report earlier this month. As I read the report, I cannot help but appreciate the power statistical data has in establishing fact. In truth, statistical data can easily be manipulated into giving the wrong impression.
For example, the unemployment rate is currently at 6.4 percent, which looks promising. However, the baseline unemployment rate doesn’t factor in those who can work but have stopped looking for a job because they have given up hope of finding one.
When these people are added in, the unemployment rate skyrockets to 9.7 percent. Those numbers continue to increase.
I believe the truth has been stretched with these numbers to create a rosy picture where it doesn’t exist.
Perhaps it’s time to pause and reflect on the progress, or lack thereof, that has been made since the financial crisis of 2007.
Currently, the labor market has seen an average of 139,000 jobs being created per month. However in order to fill in the increasing jobs gap (between jobs being created and those looking for jobs), the economy needs to create an average of 371,000 jobs, or about a 267 percent increase over the current rate.
This economic “recovery” is reaching its fifth year, and each year has been rife with false promises and feigned enthusiasm.
The Obama Administration might be satisfied with where this economy is headed, but the pitiful one percent decrease in GDP for the first quarter of 2014 is nothing to be proud of.
What has occurred these past five years is not a recovery by historic standards.
We have seen job growth occurring in some areas, primarily in lower-wage industries, which is fantastic news.
Yet, too often the policy decisions of the Obama administration discourage employers from hiring lower-skill workers.
The surest fix to a broken economy is to get businesses hiring again.
To accomplish this, government at all levels must enact policies empowering businesses to grow, expand, develop new technologies, and reach new horizons. My House colleagues and I will continue to champion pro-growth legislation and policies that put Americans back to work. I implore the Senate and the President to do the same.
It’s time to face the truth and take action.
Randy Hultgren represents Illinois’ 14th U.S. Congressional District.