It’s official, people: the President supports increasing the federal minimum wage to $10.10 per hour from its current $7.25. Such a move would drastically alter the lives of the country’s working poor.
On Thursday, President Barack Obama announced his support for legislation introduced by two Democratic senators that, if passed, would mark the first significant increase to the federal minimum wage in more than four years. Obama’s statements showed that he’s ready to go farther than his February proposal to push the minimum wage to $9, which many criticized as not a significant enough boost.
A leap to $10.10, however, could be enough to push a large number of the working poor — a group defined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as those who fall below the poverty line despite working (or searching for work) at least 27 weeks per year — out of poverty.
A $10.10 minimum wage would have pushed more than half — 58 percent — of the nation’s 10 million-plus working poor out of poverty in 2011, according to a June study by the Restaurant Opportunities Centers United, an advocacy group focusing on the restaurant industry. (Prices have risen since 2011, so a $10.10 minimum wage would have quite as much purchasing power today as it would have back then)
h/t: Huffington Post
The economy created 146,000 jobs in November, nearly doubling expectations, according to a Friday report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The top-line employment figures exceeded analyst expectations, which factored in a significant drag caused by Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall on the east coast on October 29. But the unemployment rate actually dropped two points to 7.7 percent, and the Department of Labor explicitly cautioned that its “analysis suggests that Hurricane Sandy did not substantively impact the national employment and unemployment estimates for November.”
The promising headline numbers, however, were partially offset by weak internals in the survey, which included downward revisions to the previous two payroll reports. BLS now reports that the economy created 132,000 jobs in September, down from its initial estimate of 148,000; and 138,000 jobs in October, down from its initial estimate of 171,000.
BLS’ household survey — a separate survey the government uses to gauge the strength of the labor market — reports a slight drop in both employment and the size of the labor force.
The payroll report says retail trade employment grew by 53,000 jobs, professional and business services climbed 43,000, and health care employment increased by 20,000.
Because of the size of the labor market, the initial reports are marked by a degree of uncertainty nearly equal to the reported increase in employment.
The U.S. economy added an estimated 171,000 jobs in October, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics monthly employment report released Friday — exceeding analysts expectations, and sparing President Obama from lackluster economic news days before the election
The figures suggest a strengthening labor market, and include significant upward revisions to previous months’ employment estimates. BLS now estimates that the economy added an impressive 192,000 jobs in August, up 50,000 from a primary September revision and up even more from the initial, weak August estimate of 96,000. Likewise, BLS estimates that the economy added 148,000 jobs in September, up 34,000 from its initial estimate of 114,000.
Those revisions reflect an accelerating recovery, but also illustrate the report’s significant uncertainty. That uncertainty hasn’t stopped members of both parties from spinning the initial figures for partisan advantage. The report comes just four days before polls open Tuesday, lending additional salience to the unemployment rate, which ticked upward from 7.8 to 7.9. for the promising reason that over 578,000 people entered the work force.
Growth was strongest in professional services, health care, and retail trade, which added 51,000, 31,000, and 36,000 jobs respectively.
h/t: Brian Beutler at TPM
Ezra Klein at WaPo: September jobs report: Debunking the jobs report conspiracy theories
We’ve hit that moment in the election when people begin to lose their minds. Case in point, within minutes of the jobs report, Twitter filled with Republicans claiming the books were somehow cooked, the numbers aren’t real, etc.
Let’s take a deep breath. Jobs reports are about the economy, not about the election. Confusing the two leads to very bad analysis.
This is a good jobs report in a still-weak economy. The 114,000 jobs we added in September aren’t very impressive. The revisions to the last two months, which added 86,000 jobs to the total, were much more impressive. Those revisions also suggest that September’s jobs could get revised up — or, of course, down. So be careful about reading too much into that number. Still, these are, at best, good, not great, numbers.
The controversy, if it’s worth using that word, is over the unemployment rate, which dropped from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent. That’s three-tenths of one percent. That’s what all the fuss is about.
Let’s get one thing out of the way: The data was not, as Jack Welch suggested in a now-infamous tweet, manipulated. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is set up to ensure the White House has no ability to influence it. As labor economist Betsey Stevenson wrote, “anyone who thinks that political folks can manipulate the unemployment data are completely ignorant of how the BLS works and how the data are compiled.” Plus, if the White House somehow was manipulating the data, don’t you think they would have made the payroll number look a bit better than 114,000? No one would have batted an eye at 160,000.
U6 is not an unemployment measure. It includes part-time workers who want full-time work. So it doesn’t count the increase in part-time work. But every measure of actual unemployment — U1, U2, U3, U4, and U5 — went down. You can see them all here. Again, there’s no mystery.
This is an encouraging report. What it tells us is that the labor market has been a bit better over the last few months than we thought, and that the recovery hasn’t slowed in the ways we feared. What the response to it tells us is that the election is driving people a little bit crazy.
Source: Washington Post