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economic justice

U.S. Economy Makes Gains

from the NYTimes.

Employment Rose Sharply in October as Jobless Rate Fell

Published: November 7, 2003

he longest hiring slump in more than 60 years finally appears to have ended.

Employment grew by 126,000 jobs in October, the best showing in nine months, the Labor Department reported today, and job growth in August and September was significantly stronger than the government had initially estimated. It was the first time since late 2000 that the economy added workers for three straight months.

The unemployment rate fell slightly in October, to 6 percent, from 6.1 percent the month before.

"This is as dramatic a turnaround as you could hope for," said Ian C. Shepherdson, the chief domestic economist at High Frequency Economics in Valhalla, N.Y.

Restaurants, real-estate companies, doctor's offices and most of the rest of the broad service sector added to their payrolls last month, apparently in response to the recent jump in household spending, economists said.

Manufacturers, still struggling against foreign competition, cut jobs for the 39th consecutive month, but the loss was the smallest since the early months of the streak.

The number of people working part-time because they could not find full-time work fell 139,000, to 4.8 million. Average hourly wages rose by just a single cent, but an increase in hours as businesses worked harder to keep up with rising demand fattened weekly paychecks.

The recent job gains remain modest by many measures. They are not large enough to keep up with the growth of the labor force, suggesting that last month's decline in the jobless rate might have been a statistical blip.

"This is at most the beginning of the end, not the end itself," Drew Matus, an economist at Lehman Brothers, wrote in a note to clients this morning. The labor market recovery "is still in its early stages and still somewhat fragile."

But the increases also represent clear progress after two and a half years of layoffs and weak hiring that sliced the nation's payrolls by more than 2.5 million jobs, the biggest decline since the early 1980's.

The report offered more good economic news for President Bush, who has credited the three tax cuts passed since 2001 with softening the economic slump and predicted that they would eventually lead to job growth.

"We're delighted," said N. Gregory Mankiw, the chairman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers. "I think we'll see robust job growth going forward."

The employment gain complicates the task of the Democratic presidential candidates, who have the made the severe job losses a centerpiece of their campaigns. Representative Pete Stark of California, the ranking Democrat on Congress's Joint Economic Committee, noted that the current pace of job growth would need to continue for 19 months to return to the peak employment level reached in early 2001.

If the job gains continue, they will also increase the odds that the Federal Reserve will raise its benchmark short-term interest rate during the first half of next year. Since June, the Fed has kept the federal funds rate on overnight loans at its lowest level since 1958 in an effort to shock the economy out of its sluggishness.

Low interest rates have led to a surge in mortgage refinancing, giving many families more cash to spend, and also decreased the cost of many car loans, small business loans and other types of loans.

Stocks rose modestly after the release of today's employment report. By mid-morning, the Standard & Poor 500-stock index was up about two-tenths of 1 percent. Bond prices, meanwhile, were lower. The Treasury's benchmark 10-year note was down about half a point, while its yield rose to 4.47 percent, from 4.41 percent late Thursday.
a tiny bit of truth 07.Nov.2003 10:17

adrian more

>>The recent job gains remain modest by many measures. They are not large enough to keep up with the growth of the labor force, suggesting that last month's decline in the jobless rate might have been a statistical blip.>>:

a tiny pearl in the pigsty.

and:who's reporting the job growth?

the labor dept,that is,the lying govt...

better believe it...

context. 07.Nov.2003 10:29

this thing here

what was the unemployment rate 4 years ago? something like 4%?

and now it's 6%.


tax cuts and job growth. 07.Nov.2003 10:53

this thing here

lets compare and contrast two situations.

- during the early to mid ninties, there was job growth and no tax cuts.

- during the later third of '03, there was some job growth and massive tax cuts.

purely for the sake of argument, in both cases there was job growth, yet in only one case was there massive tax cuts. so given that job growth happens with or without tax cuts, how do tax cuts get the credit for the job growth now?

Let's face it 07.Nov.2003 13:27


Why be honest here. You guys all don't want to hear any good news
by Bush since you hate him that's all ...
Plus by now many of you are all used to partying and see no fun in
finding a job and go to work ....

it's simple. 07.Nov.2003 13:31

this thing here

answer the question, or fuck off.

A response to SB. 07.Nov.2003 15:08


I know you're trolling, but... for the sake of open discourse, I'd like to point a few things out and call your bluff.

I work 40+ hours a week in a "capitalist", "establishment" job.
I marched in anti-war demos while working 40 hours a week (Fat lot of good it did to stop the war).

The current white hou$e re$ident is a lying, thieving misleader. If he did good things for the country people wouldn't bash him.

You have every right to support his policies and the policies of those who installed him and back him. But that doesn't change the fact that an unprecedented* schism is occurring in this country as a result of those policies, since most people aren't profiting from them, and many are oppressed by them.

*with the exception of the economic conflicts in this nation during the mid-19th century which led up to the Civil War.

corporations buying back their stock 07.Nov.2003 17:03

marc mbatko@lycos.com

Don't be bewitched by the market euphoria! Corporations may only be buying back their depressed stock. (cf. ETS, Seattle, WA).
The myths of the self-healing market, the invisible hand, the beneficient corporation and nature as an external or free good seem hidden or repressed like the deficit reality, the foreign trade deficit and the consumer deficit (27 times higher than in the 60s).
In his new book Simplicity: The Joy of Letting Go, Richard Rohr describes Americans as collective teenagers who fell to the Reagan trickle down magic where the poor magically become wealthy. Increasing purchasing power leads to full employment. Subsidies to transnationals leads to state deficits. Germany has stricter tax laws but corporations are gifted in avoiding taxes as they are showered with subsidies. Corporate welfare disguised as job creation devastates budgets while human welfare disparaged as dependence falls by the wayside.
In the 50s we lived in a guns-and-butter economy. There were no limits. A little more productivity was the cure-all. Now with George W, the Reagan devotee, the darkness of militarism and corpoirate enrichment are repressed. Bin Laden just in time, the security card or terrorist threat, makes us helpless in the struggles against poverty, homelessness and unemployment, and destruction of nature, No, the boat isn't full and the unemployed aren't the cause of deflation and consumer fear. Abolishing jobs at unemployment centers and counseling agencies doesn't creat jobs. Making greater demands on the unemployed doesn't create jobs (cf. Jurgen Klute, Working in Dignity on portland.indymedia.)
Hope and healing only come when we resist the myths and become part of the world of nations.


Unemployment Rate 07.Nov.2003 20:21


The unemployment rate has been cited as evidence that Bush's economic policies are hurting the economy. Fine, let's take a look at our current performance, relative to other post-recession periods.

* The recession ended in November 2001.
* Unemployment reached a one-month high of 6.4%, while more generally staying in the 5.8-6.2% range.
* Amount of time between the end of the recession and the date at which the unemployment rate declined to 6.0% - 23 months.

1990-91 recession...
* The recession ended in March 1991.
* Unemployment reached a one-month high of 7.8%, while more generally staying in the 6.8-7.4% range.
* Amount of time between the end of the recession and the date at which the unemployment rate declined to 6.0% - 41 months.

1981-82 recession....
* The recession ended in November 1982
* Unemployment reached a two-month high of 10.8%, but ranged widely from 7-10%.
* Amount of time between the end of the recession and the date at which the unemployment rate declined to 6.0% - 57 months.

. Now, compare our previous post-recessionary periods with our current post-recessionary period and try to figure out why this unemployment rate is being called unusually bad

Oh. Right. Elections.

My bad.

to david 08.Nov.2003 01:08


nice facts IF you assume that the calculation of the unemployment rate is constant through time. but the rules have changed recently. now those who are under-employed and those who have given up the job search are not counted. with those people counted, the unemployment rate is closer to 10%. i believe the unemployment rate is dropping about as much as i believe the economy is booming. like you said:

Oh. Right. Elections.

long-term unemployed not counted 08.Nov.2003 05:50

marc mbatko@lycos.com

In Nov 2001 the Dept of Labor declared it can no longer afford counting the long-term unemployed.
American statistics are "annualized" so growth projections must be divided by four. No other country annualizes its statistics.
The myth that increased profits leads to increased investment and increased jobs must be unmasked. The collapse of the first financial bubble of the new economy was inevitable because of the shift from productive to speculative investment. The collapse of the second bubble, real estate speculation, may happen as early as 2004 or 2005.
Deflation occurs when purchasing power falls and corporations and individuals fear further i
nvestment. Collapse occures when foreign investors discover more stable areas for investment
Adbusters has long emphasized that economists must learn to subtract. Unprovoked wars, nuclear weapons, traffic accidents, cancer treatments, environmental destruction and corporate subsidies are all counted as positive in the GNP.
If pollution were taxed instead of jobs, revenues would stream into state coffers. Friends of the Earth has urged this shift for several years. The website www.scorecard.org shows how technology can help in directing us to a future-friendly sustainable economy. Instead of selling the family silverware and reducing nature to a sink for wastes, polluters could be reproved and investment in people and communities encouraged.


about that recovery... 09.Nov.2003 16:30


a little perspective
a little perspective

Pumping it up for elections 09.Nov.2003 21:46


Oughta figured he would have done this....the recent jump in the economy probably has to do with extra war spending and corporate reconstruction contracts, not to mention stock buyback as mentioned above. There are other tricks that can cause the GDP growth rate to look erroneously high for a quarter or two. I bet this was a ploy for reelection, to be followed by a second recession in 2005. After all, it's the economy, stupid, never mind the election cycles!