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Jobs and Social Security

8:44 am in Economy, Financial Crisis, Jobs, Media, Politics, Social Security, Unemployment by dakine01

Job forms

Unemployment is up a fraction of a percent.

The January Jobs reports are out and for once, there is a modicum of (somewhat) good news. The Labor Department reported 157K new jobs for January 2013 and significantly revised both November and December 2012 numbers upwards:

Employers added 157,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department said, which was right in line with analyst expectations. The best news, though, was that revised estimates put job creation in November and December much higher than earlier estimated; the nation added a whopping 247,000 jobs in November and 196,000 in December, revisions that place those numbers a combined 127,000 jobs above earlier estimates.

The unemployment rate ticked up to 7.9 percent, from 7.8 percent, however, as both the number of people reporting having a job and the number looking for one edged up.

I’m sure we will hear a lot about how the January figures were “…right in line with analyst expectations” given how they are usually “surprised” that their predictions are wrong.

The .1% uptick in the unemployment rate (from 7.8% to 7.9% is not all that much of a surprise – or shouldn’t be – if the economy truly is improving after all these years. The BLS U6 figure for the un/underemployed and marginally attached folks was unchanged at 14.4% (a figure that I believe is low but can’t prove). Bloomberg reported the jobs news as:

Sustained hiring gains will give incomes a lift, buffering American workers from the sting of higher payroll taxes and helping them keep spending. At the same time, bigger employment advances are needed to drive down a jobless rate that Federal Reserve officials say is too high.

We can but hope Bloomberg is correct in this analysis that incomes will be lifted.

This past Wednesday, ADP reported 192K private sector jobs for January (versus 166K reported by BLS – see Bloomberg link).

One of the areas that seems to escape a lot of notice is how the jobs reports impacts the Social Security Trust Fund. Bloomberg touches on this with the mention of higher wages offsetting “…the sting of higher payroll taxes” but still seems to miss how higher employment will provide more funds to keep Social Security running without needing to be “fixed.”

Of course, this in no way will stop people like Robert Samuelson of the Washington Post from offering up his fantasy of cutting Social Security as part of a “sequestration”:

To be effective, a sequester has to hit millions of Americans so hard that, if it took effect, mobs of outraged voters would storm Capitol Hill.

Here’s my modest proposal to do that. Unless congressional negotiators agreed on at least $1 trillion in deficit cuts over a decade — personally, I’d go higher — then the desired amount would be raised in two ways: half from across-the-board income-tax increases and half from across-the-board Social Security cuts. People would see their take-home pay and retiree benefits reduced. There would be no mystery.


It won’t happen. Truth in journalism: I have proposed this before. There were no takers. It would astonish me if there were any now. But the point is that there is a path to agreement. The fact that our so-called leaders don’t take it reflects their calculation that disagreeing is better politics.

Thankfully, he has had no takers so he has a sad

Allison Linn at NBC News offers a counter to Samuelson and his gibberish with this report of a survey with results that fly in the face of so much Beltway Conventional Wisdom:

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Jobs Reports for 3 June 2010

9:30 am in Uncategorized by dakine01

Well, the Weekly Report of New Unemployment claims is out and it looks like there has been a drop for the second week in a row. Of course, when the new claims are still over 450K for the week, that isn’t all that good since the four week average is still at 459K.

Surprisingly enough, the problems of folks in similar straits as myself, that is, long term un/underemployed is beginning to get a little visibility. Even when the TradMed would apparently prefer we pay more attention to shiny object stories like the separation of Al and Tipper Gore or the hunt for Joran Van Der Sloot.

At the moment, I think that the BP Oil Disaster and the Gaza Flotilla attack have overwhelmed even the TradMed’s abilities to distract folks.

With all of the critical news stories happening, it is still a bit of a surprise that TradMed folks are actually reporting on the long term un/underemployeds. At the MSNBC web site, Allison Linn has had articles yesterday and today on the long term un/underemployed. Yesterday she covered the "99ers" (those who have exhausted 99 weeks of Unemployment Compensation.) For those who are mathematically impaired, a year is 52 weeks so 99 weeks of Unemployment payments is five weeks short of two years. And these folks have exhausted that level of benefits. (For the record, I collected 26 weeks of unemployment in 2004 into early 2005). Today Ms Linn covers "older workers," that is, those of us who have worked most of our adult life, who bought in to the myths that by working hard we could earn a living wage and be treated with respect only to discover that instead of being appreciated for our knowledge and experience, we are actually too expensive to keep around.

Digby has also been covering the long term jobless story with this from Tuesday and this from Wednesday on the topic.

A small flicker of good news from this Reuters via MSNBC article on job increases in the "private sector."

The folks that are apparently least likely to be paying attention to our problems though are our elected "representatives." The House of Representatives passed an extension of Unemployment Benefits before leaving for their Memorial Day recess but the Senate left without doing anything so there are folks who will once again run out of benefits before the Senate can get around to doing something. Of course, it’s not just the older folks who are disrespected by elected "representatives" since Congress has also failed to pass a Summer Youth Jobs Bill.

I almost want to propose that Congress not be allowed to go into a recess unless the official Unemployment Rate is at 5% or less and the Underemployment Rate is less than 10% (roughly half of what each are today). But rather than allowing them to hide in Washington and away from the voters, I think a better deal would be that sitting members of Congress not be allowed to hold any type of fund raising activities or campaign activities until the jobs have returned. This way, they can’t beg for money and try to hold onto their jobs until the rest of us out here have jobs. Of course, my proposal has absolutely no chance of happening as people in my situation don’t have the money to make a difference so the corporations can continue to buy their pet politicians.

And because I can:

Cross posted from A Small Town Country Boy