First Saturday of the month, meaning the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its jobs report yesterday (link). The top headline of this morning’s Wall Street Journal is “Labor Market Plods Forward” (link).
The headline fits the data, I think.
The 146,000 jobs added is one thing, but the number of jobs necessary for an actually thriving labor market is a substantially different thing. The US labor market is simply under-performing. Events lead one to think the labor market need not be under-performing, at least to such a degree. The problem is politics. Right now the US government, given the circumstances of an under-performing economy, are debating how much to raise taxes, and how much to cut spending. Frustratingly, the US is having an “austerity will lead to growth” moment when the opposite of austerity is empirically called for. Obama, at last, is providing some leadership on stimulus, trying to include a modest bit in a “fiscal cliff” package. Conventional wisdom is stimulus won’t make the final deal. This would be regrettable, and further signal a gross political decay at the heart of US self-governance. Why does the US political structure continue to block investment in the US middle class?