Dispatch from the War on Jobs
Posted by Mary
Remember how just last month the Bush administration promised the most amazing job growth that would result in an average of 320,000 new jobs per month? Well, George, you missed the target again. The February jobs report even disappointed more realistic economists who had projected a jobs growth number of 125,000 to 135,000. However, the US economy only produced 21,000 new non-farm payroll jobs and the January report was adjusted downward to 97,000.
Labor Secretary Elaine Chao, in an interview with CNNfn, pointed to the stable unemployment rate as a hopeful sign. But she acknowledged that the Bush administration was "concerned" about job growth and suggested U.S. workers needed re-training to prepare themselves for other jobs.
She also declined to stand by the administration's earlier forecast that it would create 3.8 million jobs this year, or about 320,000 per month.
"That was a Council of Economic Advisers report, by one agency in the federal government," she said. "I'm not an economist."
But don't worry, the Bush cheerleaders are pointing to the "good news" that the unemployment rate is still 5.6 percent, so obviously things are still pretty good. Of course, just a few days ago, the Republican congress decided that they didn't need to extend unemployment benefits for the unemployed because everyone agreed the economy was no longer in recession and obviously new jobs were just around the corner.
There were 8.2 million unemployed in February, compared with 8.3 million in January. The unemployment rate stayed the same, however, because the civilian labor force -- the pool of available workers either working or looking for a job -- shrank by 392,000.
The labor force participation rate -- the percentage of working-age Americans either working or looking for work -- fell to 65.9 percent, the lowest level since 1988. 484,000 people called themselves "discouraged workers" in February, having given up looking for a job because they thought none were available.