247,000 more unemployed in July is positive news?

August 7, 2009

Eric Brooks | August 7, 2009 | Special to this blog

In an article today, Reuters reports “Payrolls fall less in July, jobless rates eases”.  The article goes on to say

U.S. employers cut 247,000 jobs in July, far less than expected and the least in any month since last August, according to data on Friday that provided the clearest evidence yet that the economy was turning around.

With fewer workers being laid off, the unemployment rate eased to 9.4 percent in July from 9.5 percent the prior month, Labor Department data showed, the first time the jobless rate had fallen since April 2008.

This is a good example of news spin at its worst.  Over a quarter million more unemployed were added to the already devastating number of us struggling to keep food on the table and a roof over our heads. As usual, the people who are under- or un-employed are not mentioned, only the “positive news. This is the best showing (since) prior to the financial meltdown….”

The unemployment figures are very deceptive, for example leaving out the long term unemployed who have supposedly “given up” looking for work as well as the new entrants into the job market.The article mentions that “…in July the workforce fell by 422,000, far more than the 155,000 decline in June, suggesting jobless workers may have given up looking for new work.”  That is, almost a half-million folks disappeared off the rolls of the unemployed in a statistical vanishing act worthy of double-talking policy wonks but not of caring and sane policy makers who want to address the social problem of under- and un-employment.

No matter how you look at it, there remain over 30 million unemployed in the United States, and countless under-employed, who need jobs or income now.  In the crowing about this “positive news” the struggling unemployed are forgotten. The need for unity among the under- and un-employed to put our needs before the nation remains. We must refuse to be “disappeared” through statistical magic tricks; our voices matter.

We can demand our needs be met; we can demand jobs or income now.


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