Slouching Toward An Economist And Beltway Employment Nirvana
The only thing holding up official recognition that employment worries in this country are a thing of the past is a residual optimism among some sectors of the American public. This may sound like a contradiction at first, even an absurdity. But consider these numbers.
We need about 125,000 new jobs a month in this country to keep up with population growth. The economy during all of 2010 created on average of just 94,000 new jobs a month. Things were a bit better in December 2010 when 103,000 new jobs were created — but that’s still 22,000 less than needed to keep up with a growing population. Yet the official unemployment rate in December plunged from 9.8 percent to 9.4, percent, the lowest figure in 19 months.
How could less jobs be created than needed to accommodate population growth at the same time that the official unemployment rate was falling so dramatically? Because so many Americans became so discouraged about finding work in December that they stopped trying, and the government excludes from its statistics people who have stopped seeking work.
So then. The new official solution to employment worries is clear. By simply undermining the natural optimism of Americans, destroying their faith in their government, rotting away their hopes for the future to such an extent that an ever increasing number of them feel its no longer worth seeking honest employment, fewer people will be counted as unemployed and official unemployment numbers will keep declining accordingly.
The end result? Economic nirvana for number crunching economists and their loose-lipped acolytes in Washington when the official unemployment figures finally drops below 5 percent.
As for reality on Main Street? Well, Main Street is just a lagging indicator, after all. And as long as the really poor are so beaten down that they don’t bother to vote, and the not yet really poor can be turned against one another, there will be no threat to the status quo or the truth as interpreted by its economic enablers.
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