October 5 2012

Did Unemployment Really Change?

Emily Wismer

 

The Bureau of Labor statistics announced today unemployment is on the decline. News agencies are hailing this as good news for Americans and the Administration’s election prospects alike.

Today’s unemployment rate slid down to 7.8 percent after 43 months above 8 percent. Though the standard unemployment rate reduced, the overall unemployment rate – including people who quit looking because they could not find work but want to work and those who took part-time work because they cannot find a full-time job – remained stagnant at 14.7 percent.

This means that while more people are working either full-time or part-time, the same percent of people want to find full-time work cannot.

One reason this occurred is 600,000 more people took part-time work in September. That means 8.6 million people have taken part-time work because their hours have been cut or they could not find a full-time job.  In my view, that is not a healthy labor market, nor does it reflect an America able to provide for its families, pay its bills, or meet the rising costs of basic needs.

How are women faring? Generally, women’s unemployment rate has been better than the rest of the nation. But as opposed to where we were in June of 2009 when 59.5 percent of all women participated in the labor force, today only 57.6 percent of women are working or looking for work.

In other words, the President’s big spending, fund your friends policies have not benefited women. Americans can be relieved the unemployment news was not worse,  but we must expect – and indeed need to demand – better.

 

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