Tag Archives: job stats

The New America

By Jack Hoffman

As unemployment grows, the poverty statistics grow with it. And the anger becomes greater. One wonders: When will the people take to the streets again?

Recently, on his radio talk show, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg warned “that if the national jobs crisis doesn’t end soon, the United States will soon see riots in the streets.”

Call it what you want, but the warnings of riots and revolution have been echoed all over the country in magazines, newspapers and talk on the radio and TV shows. Professor Thomas Kochan at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, certainly no bastion of liberalism, not only agrees with Mayor Bloomberg, but also was surprised there aren’t more visible signs of public anger/protests.

The real unemployment figure for the US has now reached a staggering 20%. And just how much is the real under-employment, meaning the figures on those who are now working a bare minimum of what they used to work and earn not so long ago. The figures I have used – and will use – are based on the US Dept. of Labor statistics. Recently, the job crisis has been inflamed with the new reports of poverty in America. That last statement is an obvious fact. If people are out of a job and working at a bare minimal wage – in many homes hamburger is now stretched thin with the addition of a crappy helper and in some cases dog food – they are POOR.

We here in the Bay State are fortunate compared to states like California, Nevada and parts of the Midwest that have double-digit unemployment. Places like Detroit and Milwaukee are almost wastelands compared to what they were 20 years ago. Here in Massachusetts we are more fortunate. Our unemployment figure for the past month has dipped from 7 ¾% to 7 ½%. In a recent Globe article is a listing of 15 town and cities where housing values have actually begun to rise.

I’m sure you all have heard the stories from neighbors, friends and within your own family. Take Bill Rickers of Hartford, Maine: In 1980 he fell through some boards while doing some carpentry work. He has since been unable to do any carpentry work. He has two college degrees. As a young man, Rickers worked as an electronics repairman, a pastor and a TV cameraman. He and his first wife had seven children. Now he receives food stamps, gets donations from a local food pantry store, and drives an 18-year-old car with 189,000 miles on it. About once every two months, as a treat, he goes out to lunch at a nearby lunch café.

After his accident Rickers was not able to tend to a three-unit apartment house he and his wife owned. They sold it, and bought a used trailer from the proceeds. If you think this is bad, he has serious back and shoulder injuries, his hands shake, he has congestive heart problems, asthma and arthritis. The stories go on and on.

That’s why I wasn’t so shocked when at a recent Republican debate Ron Paul was asked what do we do with folks like Ricker, who have no insurance — or any extra money Ricker has which is very little he uses for food. Mr. Paul’s answer was (in so many words): If he can’t get into a hospital he will just have to die.

At that moment there was a few dumb asses out there who actually applauded. I imagine some of the Tea Party/Fox TV crowd. I wasn’t surprised. Most likely the yelp and cheers came from the ones who love to raise the American flag on every holiday and consider themselves proud patriots.

Let the new figures speak for themselves:

Three out of four below the poverty line work; half have full-time jobs. One quarter work part-time. Only one quarter don’t work at all. So don’t give me that BS line “They should get a job.” 25% of all children, that’s 16.7 million, are living below the poverty line. 52% of all Americans, by the time they reach 65, will live in poverty. In one year, poverty has gone to 15% from 14.3%

Today there are 42 million Americans living in poverty. It has been more than 50 years since Edward R. Murrow telecast one of the most shocking and profound TV documentaries, A Harvest of Shame (poverty in America). That was a long time ago, and since then things have gotten worse.

Mass job stats


Jobs Decrease by 8,900 Mostly Due to Strike in the Information Sector

Boston –The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported this week that the August total unemployment rate decreased from 7.6 percent in July to 7.4 percent remaining well below the national rate of 9.1 percent, and the state’s lowest monthly rate since February 2009. Preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 8,900 jobs, for a total of 3,235,600 jobs in Massachusetts. The August job estimates reflect approximately 6,100 striking workers in the Information sector who were not on company payrolls at the time of this survey.

Three of the ten private sectors added jobs in August with over-the-month gains in Trade, Transportation and Utilities; Other Services; and Construction. The August job loss follows a revised 10,400 job gain in July, previously reported as a 12,700 job gain.

Year-to-date (December 2010 to August 2011), 41,800 jobs have been added in the Bay State with 47,700 private sector jobs added. Over-the-year (August 2010 to August 2011), jobs are up 48,000, for a growth rate of 1.5 percent. Private sector jobs are up 52,900, for a growth rate of 1.9 percent with gains in eight of the ten sectors.

Employment Overview
Trade, Transportation, and Utilities gained 2,000 jobs (+0.4%) over-the-month. Of the component industries, Transportation and Warehousing gained the greatest number of jobs, 1,200 (+1.4%) followed by an increase of 900 jobs in Retail Trade (+0.3%), while Wholesale Trade lost 100 jobs (-0.1%). Over-the-year, jobs in Trade, Transportation and Utilities are up 7,000 (+1.3%) with Wholesale Trade gaining 1,400 (+1.1%) jobs and Retail Trade adding 3,700 (+1.1%) jobs.

Other Services added 700 (+0.6%) jobs over-the-month. Over-the-year, jobs in Other Services are up 3,900 (+3.3%).

Over-the-month, Construction gained 200 jobs (+0.2%). This sector has now posted job gains in six of the last eight months. Over-the-year, this sector has added 2,600 (+2.4%) jobs with gains in all component industries.

Mining and Logging employment remained unchanged both over-the-month and over-the-year.

Over-the-month, Information lost 6,000 jobs (-6.7%) due to a strike in telecommunications during this job survey period. The August loss also affected the over-the-year change which is now a loss of 1,300 jobs (-1.5%).

Leisure and Hospitality lost 2,100 jobs (-0.7%) over-the-month following a revised gain of 300 jobs in July. Arts, Entertainment, and Recreation lost 1,600 jobs (-3.4%) while Accommodation and Food Services lost 500 jobs (-0.2%). Over-the-year, the sector has added 7,500 (+2.5%) jobs as the Accommodation and Food Services component added 10,200 (+4.0%) jobs.

Education and Health Services lost 1,100 jobs (-0.2%) over-the-month as the gain in Educational Services of 300 (+0.2%) jobs was offset by the 1,400 (-0.3%) job loss in Health Care and Social Assistance. Over-the-year this sector has added 13,900 (+2.1%) jobs as Health Care and Social Assistance gained 12,600 (+2.5%) jobs and Educational Services added 1,300 (+0.8%) jobs.

Manufacturing lost 800 jobs (-0.3%) over-the-month as Durable Goods lost 700 jobs (-0.4%) and Non-Durable Goods were down 100 jobs (-0.1%). From August 2010 to August 2011, Manufacturing has gained 4,600 (+1.8%) jobs with seven out of every ten job gains in Durable Goods.

Professional, Scientific and Business Services lost 700 jobs (-0.1%) over-the-month, the sector’s first monthly loss since November 2010. Within the sector, the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services component gained 300 jobs (+0.1%) while Administrative and Waste Services lost 600 jobs (-0.4%) and Management of Companies and Enterprises lost 400 jobs (-0.7%). Over-the-year, the sector has added 12,100 (+2.6%) jobs with 10,800 jobs (+4.4%) gained in Professional, Scientific and Technical Services and 2,000 jobs (+1.3%) in Administrative and Support Services.

Financial Activities jobs were down by 400 (-0.2%) over-the-month. In July this sector added a revised 800 jobs. Over-the-year, jobs are up 2,600 (+1.3%) with a 1,500 (+0.9%) job gain in Finance and Insurance and a 1,100 (+2.8%) job gain in Real Estate, Rental and Leasing.

Government lost 700 jobs (-0.2%) due to the loss of 900 (-0.3%) jobs in Local Government. Over-the-year, Government jobs were down 4,900 (-1.1%) jobs as all three components had a loss.

Labor Force Overview
The August estimates show 3,212,100 Massachusetts residents were employed and 258,100 were unemployed, for a total labor force of 3,470,200. Over-the-month, 3,700 more residents were employed and 5,000 fewer residents were unemployed. Since October 2009, there are 43,700 more residents employed and 46,300 fewer residents unemployed as the labor force decreased by 2,600. Totals for August may not add exactly due to rounding.

The unemployment rate is based on a monthly sample of households, while the job estimates are derived from a monthly sample survey of employers. As a result, the two statistics for August exhibit different trends.

MA unemployment/job stats

Jobs Decrease by 4,000 in May

Boston – The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported today that the total unemployment rate in May was 7.6 percent, down from 7.8 percent in April. The preliminary May job estimates show 3,224,800 jobs in Massachusetts, a decrease of 4,000 jobs. Government lost 2,600 jobs and the private sector lost 1,400.

Job gains occurred in Professional, Scientific, and Business Services; Construction; Manufacturing; Education and Health Services; Other Services; and Information. Leisure and Hospitality; Government; Trade, Transportation, and Utilities; Financial Activities; and Mining and Logging lost jobs. The May job loss follows a revised 20,300 jobs gain in April, previously reported as a 19,500 job gain.

Over-the-year, jobs are up 27,500 (+0.9 percent) with private sector jobs up 44,800 (+1.6 percent). Year-to-date 31,000 jobs have been added in the Commonwealth with 39,200 in private sector jobs. Continue reading MA unemployment/job stats