American Elephants

Spin, Spin, Spin: “Stronger than Expected,” “Revised Upward” “More Jobs” by The Elephant's Child


Nothing brings out the spinners like the monthly jobs report. Reuters said:

Job growth was stronger than expected in June and the employment count for the prior two months was revised higher, showing the economy on solid ground and likely keeping the Federal Reserve on track to scale back its massive monetary stimulus later this year.

Employers added 195,000 new jobs to their payrolls last month, the Labor Department said on Friday, while the unemployment rate held steady at 7.6 percent as more people entered the workforce. The government revised it count for April and May to show 70,000 more jobs created than previously reported.

Last month, according to the more volatile household survey, the economy lost 240,000 full-time workers, while gaining 360,000 part-time workers. So the entire increase in the household measure was accounted for by people working part-time for economic reasons. The growth was centered in retail, restaurants and bars, and employment offices (or temp workers). Which shows that some firms who would be hiring full-time workers are hiring part-timers to avoid the cost of ObamaCare. And these are usually lower-paying jobs.

The White House, of course emphasized the recovery — the same one they’ve been emphasizing for five years now.

There are 28 million part-time workers in the US vs. 25 million before the Great Recession. There are 116 million full-time workers in the US vs. 122 million before the Great Recession. Before the recession 17% of the workforce was part-time, now it’s 19% of the smaller workforce.

If there were as many people participating in the labor force as there were before the Great Recession, the unemployment rate would be 11.1% While the labor market may be improving enough for a positive spin, the broadest measure of unemployment which includes discouraged workers no longer looking for a job, and those who can’t find a full-time job for economic reasons still totals more than 20 million Americans, and the rate “unexpectedly” rose in June to 14.3% from 13.8%.

Obama is still counting on ‘green jobs’ and innovation spawned by the effort to save the earth from the ravages of global warming to produce the new employment the economy needs. In the meantime the busy bureaucrats in his administration are regulating, controlling and enforcing more and more jobs out of existence.

Washington DC has a 8.5% unemployment rate and has come up with an ingenious plan to keep it as high as possible. The city council voted 8-5 last month to require a $12.50 an hour “living wage” for certain big retailers, well above the current national minimum wage of $7.25. The wage floor applies to stores with 75,000 square feet of space and $1 billion in parent-company revenues: that would be Target, Home Depot and especially Wal-Mart which has announced plans to open six new stores in the district with three under construction. Each store is expected to add about 300 jobs and $1 million in tax revenue.

The propose law exempts companies operating under collective bargaining agreements. Multiple studies have shown that minimum-wage laws most hurt the poor and least skilled. They drive down urban employment. According to a 2010 study for New York City minimum-wage laws cost cities tens of thousands of jobs as businesses locate in the suburbs.

The retailing revolution of the last 30 years has done more to increase the standard of living of America’s poor than any minimum-wage increase. A Wal-Mart spokesman says that three-fourths of its managers started in low-or minimum-wage positions but now earn salaries of more than $50,000 or even $100,000 a year.

Everybody is beginning to recognize that there are no significant numbers of green jobs, that ObamaCare is killing jobs and full-time work, that the EPA cannot stop regulating jobs out of existence, that Obama’s “War on Coal” will kill thousands of jobs and hurt families in some of the poorest sections of the country, and that now Obama wants to legalize 11 million illegal immigrants to get work permits. What he claims before the teleprompter never appears in the real world. He is caught between a rock and a hard place with the Keystone XL. His Big Green backers want it cancelled. His Union backers want the high-paying jobs. So Obama will punt, being completely unable to make up his mind, needs more information, anything to stall it — till after the election?

Tragedy in Canada: A Runaway Train Derailed and Exploded: by The Elephant's Child


A runaway train carrying 73 cars of crude oil derailed and four cars under pressure exploded sending a huge fireball into the sky over Lac-Méganatic, Quebec about 1:00 am last night. It destroyed much of the center of the 6.000 resident town. The train was apparently parked while the engineer waited for his replacement. Flames have been too hot for rescuers to get closer or determine the extent of the damage. More of the tanker cars may be under pressure and liable to explode.

It is not known if anyone was killed or injured in the blast. There are sixty missing and scores feared dead, but no one knows who was home or just away. At least thirty buildings were destroyed, including shops, homes and the library and newspaper office. About 250 residents have taken shelter in a Red Cross center set up in the town’s high school.

Some crude oil has spilled into the lake and the Chaudiere River, but the extent of the spill is not yet known. What a horror to wake in the middle of the night with your town exploding. Plumes of smoke can be seen from 10 km away. Our thoughts are with the stricken townspeople. More here.

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