Sadly, I’ve written on this topic many times over the last 10 years. This time it’s the June employment report. I’ll let Bill McBride summarize it for you:
The good news: This was the best first half for private employment gains since 1999. Also hourly and weekly wages increased 0.4% in June, and hourly wages are now up 2.2% over the last year (weekly wages are up 2.5% year-over-year).
Some bad news: the employment-population ratio for the 25 to 54 year old group (prime working age) declined, the number of part time workers (for economic reasons) increased and U-6 (an alternative measure of labor underutilization) increased to 14.3%.
Be sure to scroll down for The Scary Chart showing that there are still 2% fewer jobs than there were at the beginning of the Great Recession. At least — theoretically — there may have been enough jobs created to absorb the new people in the workplace. Or rather, there would have been if it hadn’t been June, a month when both high school and college graduations occur.
So let’s dig into the bad news. A lot of people are working part time because that’s the best they can do right now. Some employers think they are getting around benefits such as health care costs doing this, but the fact is that if the economy ever really recovers, workers will demand little things like full time work at decent wages with benefits.
Many of those workers are also in low wage jobs — or worse yet, temporary jobs that might vanish next month. It’s dishonest to say a job was “created” if it’s not worth actually hiring someone to do it. These are the kind of jobs where they can get away with giving workers a debit card instead of a paycheck, because they know the worker has no choice but to suck it up.
Now, I’m hesitant to bring up this story, but it seems that some “Doctors” licensed in other countries are having a hard time getting licensed here. I’m finding it difficult to swallow the idea that our standards are just too high for typical FMGs (Foreign Medical Grads). If Depak Desai could get licensed in the states, it can’t be that hard. However, these “doctors” are taking jobs that could be done by someone with a fraction of the education. Maybe we could find them jobs as medical or nursing assistants pending their actually passing the exams, and free up those menial jobs for others? At least this story is another stake in the heart of the idea that we need H1B guest workers.
The good news today masks another sad truth: the percentage of us “in the workforce” has declined. That means that more of us are staying home with the kids, more of us have gone back to school, more of us have tried to get disability benefits, and more of us have just plain given up on the idea of finding gainful employment.
I will wrap up with two related stories. First, unemployment benefits don’t increase unemployment, no matter what some conservatives want you to think. Second, some advice for the kids: employers don’t want to hear from or about your parents. Be a grown-up.