job market

Current Job Market for Teens is the Toughest on Record

Thomas Sowell used his latest piece to address a common misconception regarding the left’s avowed concern for minorities. In his column, the renowned economist pointed out that the educational policies pursued by the left in the name of the poor and the minorities often hurt those they claim to protect.

The same can be said about other policies pursued by Democrats who tend to defend that more interventionism will undoubtedly lead to more opportunities for the poor, the young and the minorities.

According to a Brookings Institute study, teens have been having a harder time finding jobs in recent years. In 2000, research shows that 45% of teens in the U.S. had jobs, now only 26% of teens aged 16 to 19 are employed.

Researchers used Department of Labor and Census data to track youth employment among the 100 largest metro areas in the country. The study shows that 1.8 million teens are either actively looking for a job but are unable to get one or they have part-time jobs, whereas they’d prefer to obtain full-time employment instead. The study refers to this pattern as “underutilization,” which means that teens are not satisfied or financially stable to focus solely on school.

In other words, more teens need to work but are unable to find work.

CBO director defends minimum wage report against White House attacks

Doug Elmendorf

The White House didn’t take too kindly to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s report showing that the $10.10 minimum wage being pushed by President Barack Obama would lead to the loss of 500,000 jobs.

In response to the report, two White House economists wrote a lengthy rebuttal to the report, touting the findings that they felt bolstered the case for a minimum wage hike while, at the same time, dismissing its findings on the negative impact to the labor market. Call it a case study in “having their cake and eating it too.”

Betsey Stevenson, one of the White House economists who wrote the rebuttal, even insulted the CBO, comparing its report to what’s taught in introductory economics.

“[A] new burgeoning literature has really pointed out that how much you pay people actually affects how they perform, what they do, and how much they produce,” Stevenson told reporters on Tuesday. “You don’t get the loss of employment that that, you know, supply-demand that you saw on the chalk board if you took introductory economics would have demonstrated.”

CBO Director Doug Elmendorf defended his agency’s report on the labor market effects of the minimum wage at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor on Wednesday:

Aetna CEO explains why Obamacare is causing insurance premiums to skyrocket

Many Americans who have been pushing into Obamacare’s health insurance exchanges have experienced sticker shock at the cost of health insurance plans available to them. Some are wondering why this has happened after President Obama promised Americans “affordable” health insurance.

During an interview last week, Maria Bartiromo, host of CNBC’s Closing Bell, asked Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini about some of the insurance premium horror stories that she and others in the media are hearing and asked what exactly is causing the cost of plans to necessarily skyrocket.

“[W]e spoke with two people yesterday who so upset. Intitially, her plan cost her, I think it was $250 a month. It’s gone up to $600 a month, the new plan. And then the other, it was costing her $500, it went up to $2,000,” noted Bartiromo. “I mean, the numbers are skyrocketing in terms of what these new plans are costing. Is it just because there’s just a lot more things in there, and many of these things, they don’t even want?”

“I mean, they said, ‘I don’t need this, I don’t need that. I don’t need child care, that’s not what I’m looking for.’ How come it’s so much more expensive, the new plans?” she asked.

Bertolini explained that there are three factors that are behind the skyrocketing premiums, taxes and fees, Obamacare’s “minimum essential benefits.”

“The largest factor is that the essential benefits requires a minimum of a 60% actuarial benefit,” noted Bertolini. “For most Americans and more than half of Americans who buy individual coverage, there current benefit plan is below 50%. So if you just move up to 60%, that’s a 20% increase out of the box.”

Economy posts weak job numbers in August

While President Barack Obama’s push for war against Syria is dominating headlines and television news, the jobs numbers for August posted on Friday were nothing short of disappointing, despite the economy adding 169,000 jobs last month and the employment rate dropping by one-tenth of a percent (emphasis added):

If you only looked at the headlines on Friday’s August jobs numbers, you’d think “Not bad!”

You would also be completely wrong.

Yes, the unemployment rate fell a notch to 7.3 percent, from 7.4 percent in July. Yes, the nation added 169,000 jobs, broadly consistent with the pattern of recent months.

But in almost all the particulars, you can find signs that this job market is weaker than it appeared just a few months ago, and maybe getting worse. The drop in the unemployment rate was caused by 312,000 people dropping out of the labor force. The number of people actually reporting having a job actually fell by 115,000 in the survey on which the unemployment rate is based.

And while the overall August jobs number was okay, the Labor Department revised down its estimates of June and July job creation by a combined 74,000 positions. In other words, through the summer, hiring has been quite a bit shakier than it had appeared.

November BLS report shows job growth, but not all good news

The Bureau of Labor Statistics released the jobs report for last month, which on the surface looks like a positive; in that the economy added 120,000 jobs and the unemployment rate decreased to 8.6%:

Job creation remained weak in the U.S. during November, with just 120,000 new positions created, though the unemployment rate slid to 8.6 percent, a government report showed Friday.

The rate fell from the previous month’s 9.0 percent, a move which in part reflected a drop in those looking for jobs. The participation rate dropped to 64 percent, from 64.2 percent in October.

The actual employment level increased by 278,000. The total amount of those without a job fell to 13.3 million.

The measure some refer to as the “real” unemployment rate, which counts discouraged workers, also took a steep fall to 15.6 percent from 16.2 percent, its lowest level since March 2009.

The growth for November is right around what is needed to keep up with population growth, and numbers for October were revised upward to over 200,000 jobs. So this is very good news, right? That depends on how far into the numbers you go. On the surface a 8.6% unemployment rate is welcome news comparatively speaking.

However, the report notes that some 315,000 umemployed people got out of the job market. As Conn Carroll notes, the “jobless rate counts only people who are actively looking for work.” So when you remove a chunk of people from the number of the unemployed — again, not because they found work, the umeployment rate will only go down. That’s basic math, but it won’t be the lede in many stories.

About that economic recovery…

There are worries, despite several months of job growth and signs of an economic recovery, that the economy is slowing down:

The drumbeat of bad news about the U.S. economy got louder on Wednesday, rattling financial markets and driving stocks to their biggest drop in a year.

The U.S. factory sector, which has been an engine of the recovery, notched its biggest one-month slowdown since 1984 as companies hit the brakes on hiring and production. Another report showed private-sector hiring dropped precipitously in May, prompting economists to ratchet down their expectations for the closely watched nonfarm payrolls report due on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 279.65 points, or 2.2%, to 12290.14, its biggest point decline since June 4 of last year. Investors piled into the safety of Treasury bonds, sending yields on the 10-year note below 3% for the first time this year. Yields move in the opposite direction of price.
[…]
Wednesday’s reports marked a notable shift in sentiment, particularly among stock investors, who have largely shrugged off signs of economic weakness, choosing to focus on strong corporate-earnings growth. The slowdown of manufacturing output could crimp those profits.

The disappointing U.S. economic data followed poor manufacturing reports around the globe. The numbers, together with evidence of a continuing downdraft in housing and signs that companies and consumers remain apprehensive about spending, suggest the economy is rapidly losing speed.


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