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The earth stood still and the markets rose, not due to the work of a modern day Moses but because the Labor Department report came out. It showed a drop of .4 percent in unemployment to give an effective rate of 7.5%. One would of thought the Red Sea had been just parted to hear the accolades in the media. If only the hoopla was for something more than a charade. The problem is not with what is being reported as much as what is being left out.
The report said the U.S. added 165,000 jobs, a weak performance by any standard and not enough to make any real impact. That the needle moved at all is due to adjustments to February and March figures, they were increased by 114,000 jobs making the total job market jump 279,000. All of this is being reported more or less across the news media, the real interesting tidbit is the type of and who these new workers are.
The report states:” Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rate for adult women (6.7 percent) declined in April, while the rates for adult men (7.1 percent), teenagers (24.1 percent), whites (6.7 percent), blacks (13.2 percent), and Hispanics (9.0 percent) showed little or no change. The jobless rate for Asians was 5.1 percent (not seasonally adjusted), little changed from a year earlier.”
Basically women were the only ones finding jobs among all the groups monitored by the Department of Labor, the rest saw virtually no improvement in unemployment. It sounds like the report is good news for only half the population. Of course the report gets even more interesting if one keeps reading.
In April the number of part time workers increased by 278,000 and the average work week dropped .2 hours. Apparently nearly all the new jobs were part-time. A fact likely attributable to the implementation of ObamaCare forcing more employers towards a part-time worforce.
It seems strange the Main Stream Media and even major business news organizations did not mention this in their reporting. Maybe they were just too euphoric over the unemployment drop to go beyond the first couple of lines, maybe.
The bottom line is the Department of Labor report is a two edged sword at best, hacking away at both unemployment and prosperity at the same time. While the number of workers increased it was mostly in the service sector with construction, manufacturing, mining and warehousing all flat. Those that did find jobs were mostly women acquiring part-time service work. Better than nothing for sure but far from the kind of economic news worth getting excited about.
For the President at least it gives him something to crow about. After all he stated that he wanted to decrease unemployment and to spread the wealth around. By making more and more of the workforce part-time he is accomplishing both goals at the same time.
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