prospect.org — According to the latest report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the economy created 157,000 jobs in January, a solid number, though behind what we need to see a robust recovery. More important, as always, are the revisions. November’s job growth was revised to 247,000 (up from 161,000) and December’s was revised to 196,000 (up from 155,000). These are big revisions, and when analyzed as part of a trend, it’s clear that the government was been underestimating job growth for most of 2012, to the tune of 28,000 jobs a month.
washingtonpost.com — The jobs numbers have been crunched and re-crunched, and it turns out that the U.S. economy added an average of 181,000 jobs per month in 2012. That’s a faster rate than in previous years. But it’s also relatively sluggish, given the deep, deep hole the economy is still in. If the United States keeps adding 181,000 jobs per month, then it will take nine years and three months to get back to full employment, according to the Hamilton Project’s jobs calculator.
Washington, D.C. -- Today’s report that the U.S. economy added 157,000 jobs in January is welcome news that the American economy has not sunk into recession, as many European countries have. But Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America’s Future warned that the austerity policies that have pushed unemployment upward in those countries are now scheduled to be imposed on the U.S. more »
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slate.com — With all feel-good talk about immigration reform, fans of conflict and dysfunction may fear the arrival of genuine bipartisanship in Washington. Not to worry! Another budget crisis is almost upon us! This time it’s not the dread fiscal cliff or the debt ceiling, but rather the “sequester”—the extremely crude cutting mechanism that essentially nobody favors but that seems likely to happen anyway. It’ll drag down the economy, impair the functioning of the government across the board, and do nothing to improve America’s fiscal sustainability over the long run. Here’s what you need to know.
washingtonpost.com — You’ve heard this before: The government is holding the economy back. And it’s true. But exactly what the government is doing to hold the economy back might surprise you. Typically, when people say the government is hurting the recovery, they mean that deficits are too high and uncertainty over future policy is scaring businesses. But there’s little evidence of that. It’s not because government is spending too much, or because of concerns over future policy. It’s because government, at all levels, is spending and investing too little. Despite the stimulus and various other policies we’ve passed to help the recovery, and despite the large deficits the government has been running, government spending and investment have, at all levels, been contractionary since 2010.
alternet.org — A new report reveals a fact that too many Americans are familiar with first-hand: nearly half of the nation's residents have no safety net to protect them from falling into poverty in the event of a layoff or other financial misfortune. The recently published Assets & Opportunities Scorecard from the Corporation for Enterprise Development (CFED) shows that "[n]early 44 percent of Americans don't have enough savings or other liquid assets to stay out of poverty for more than three months if they lose their income," as NPR summarized. At the same time, nearly a third of Americans live with no savings account at all.
robertreich.org — The Conference Board reported Tuesday that the preliminary January figure for consumer confidence in the United States fell to its lowest level in more than a year. The last time consumers were this bummed out was October 2011, when there was widespread talk of a double-dip recession. But this time business news is buoyant. The stock market is bullish. The housing market seems to have rebounded a bit. So why are consumers so glum? Because they’re deeply worried about their jobs and their incomes – as they have every right to be. The job situation is still lousy. We’ll know more this coming Friday about what happened to jobs in January. But we know over 20 million people are still unemployed or underemployed.
huffingtonpost.com — In the current political climate, immigration reform is broadly popular, with both parties eager to win over the Hispanic electorate in 2014 and 2016. But that doesn't mean that a bipartisan effort will pass a good law -- especially if long-time opponents of immigration reform are only cynically vying for votes. For the Democrats, the challenge will be to avoid simply jumping at the first deal offered by newly converted conservatives. Instead, for the first time in decades, promoters of reform have the opportunity to hold America to its promise of being a land of liberty and justice for all. Most centrally, that comes down to the issue of work. Holding America to its promise will mean ensuring that immigrants have pathways for securing just and meaningful employment in this country.
motherjones.com — President Barack Obama's jobs council, a panel formed in January 2011 to gather outside expertise on job creation, is set to expire Thursday. It appears unlikely that the president will renew it for another term, but experts say that the council has been such a loser that its death might actually be a good thing. The jobs panel, officially called the President's Council on Jobs and Competitiveness, is made up of 26 important people from industry, labor, and academia, and was "created to provide non-partisan advice to the President…on ways to create jobs, opportunity, and prosperity for the American people," according to itswebsite. But the panel failed to accomplish much over its two-year life span, and a lot of what it did turn out was more friendly to business than to regular people.
washingtonmonthly.com — One of the more darkly entertaining things to watch in Washington right now is the dance of those who are alarmed about the pending March 1 “sequestration” of defense funds trying to make their case without admitting the underlying principle that public-sector austerity (defense or non-defense) is bad for a still-deflated economy. The job of reconciling these points of view got harder today with the release of databy the Commerce Department suggesting that drops in federal spending were mainly responsible for plunging the four quarter GDP numbers into the red. First quarter GDP estimates are already being depressed by the growing impact of the payroll tax increase that hit on January 1, which a lot of people just didn’t anticipate. It’s awfully tempting to argue for a delay in the defense sequester on “stimulus” grounds—if you are the kind of politician who hasn’t abundantly estopped any such argument with prior shrieks about deficit spending being the economy’s main problem.