Economists on June Bureau of Labor Statistics Report: ‘Certainly Disappointing’

Published on July 6th, 2015

While the White House boasts about the addition of 223,000 new jobs in June and the dip in the unemployment rate to 5.3 percent, some impartial economists interpret the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report (June) more critically.

Job fair
June BLS report: 96.3 million Americans are
detached from the labor force.

In its blog that included various leading economists’ views, The Wall Street Journal found that analysts see June as “disappointing,” “weaker than expected” and “stuck in the same shallow growth trajectory that has been in place for the last several years,” as well as “headlines are decent, but the underlying details are deeply disappointing….” One critic noted that besides the poor June results, a downward revision from prior months lopped 60,000 jobs off previous months’ increases.

Outside of the misleading unemployment rate (known among realists as “the big lie”) and the raw number of new jobs added (many of them part-time and low-paying), everything else about the June report is discouraging.

About 432,000 people left the workforce which pushed the labor participation rate – the share of working-age people who are either working or looking for employment – to 62.6 percent, the lowest level since October 1977, and the sharpest decrease in more than a year. June is typically a strong month for employment with high school kids and recent college graduates entering the labor market. A record 93.6 million Americans are detached from the labor force.

More gloomy side notes: Currently 8.6 million Americans are unemployed. In June there were 653,000 discouraged workers – people not currently looking for work because they don’t believe jobs are available – 90,000 more than in May.

One reader comment to the Journal blog caught my eye, and summarizes what American workers have to endure. Frances Van wrote that wages among the mid- and lower-level employees at her company have been squeezed or positions eliminated while bonuses for senior management have reached astronomical levels. Employees in Van’s department haven’t received increases in five years.

Clearly, unemployed American workers need all the help they can get. Go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your representative to support the Legal American Workforce Act that would mandate E-Verify so that increasingly scarce jobs aren’t given to illegal immigrants.

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