The Corner

The Labor Market Isn’t Going Anywhere

Running in place. That is the best description of today’s employment report. The payroll survey reported employers’ adding a net 175,000 new jobs. Over the past year, employment growth has averaged 172,000 jobs a month. Job growth has barely improved. The same applies to hours at work – which remained flat – and for average hourly earnings, which increased by one cent.

Little has changed in the state of the labor market In most major industries, employment remained flat: construction, manufacturing, wholesale trade, transportation and warehousing, information, and financial services all barely budged. The largest gains came in temporary help services (+26,000), leisure and hospitality (+43,000), and retail trade (+28,000). Government employment fell slightly, with a drop in federal employment (-14,000) offset by increased local-government hiring (+13,000). The legendary sequester isn’t showing much of a bite.

The household survey similarly showed few changes. Unemployment rose 0.1 point to 7.6 percent, largely because more Americans returned to the job market and began looking for work but didn’t find it. So while the labor-force-participation rate edged up 0.1 points, the overall employment-to-population ratio remained constant. Even this increase in labor-force participation is mixed news — besides March and April of this year, labor force participation is at its lowest level since May 1979.

The economy is recovering from the recession, but only at a glacial pace. This employment report looks like most other employment reports over the past two years: adequate for normal times but disappointing during a recovery. While the fiscal-cliff tax hikes and the sequester have not pushed the economy into a recession, at this rate it will take a long time to return to full employment.

— James Sherk is senior policy analyst in labor economics at the Heritage Foundation Center for Data Analysis.

Most Popular

Politics & Policy

Broward’s Cowards

It is impossible to imagine circumstances under which Broward County sheriff Scott Israel could attempt to perform his duties with the confidence of the public. He should resign immediately, and if, as he promises, he refuses to go quietly, then he should be shown the door by the people he professes to ... Read More
Culture

Courage: The Greatest of Virtues

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is Jonah Goldberg’s weekly “news”letter, the G-File. Subscribe here to get the G-File delivered to your inbox on Fridays. Dear Reader (Or Listener), As the reporter assigned the job of writing the article about all of Sidney Blumenthal’s friends and supporters told his ... Read More
Immigration

My American Dream

This morning, at 8 a.m., I did something I’ve wanted to do for as long as I can remember: I became an American. I first applied for a visa in early 2011, and since then I have slowly worked my way through the system — first as a visa-holder, then as a permanent resident (green card), and, finally, as a ... Read More
Politics & Policy

CNN’s Shameful Town Hall

CNN recently hosted an anti-gun town hall featuring a number of grieving children and parents from Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., who aimed their ire at the National Rifle Association, politicians peripherally associated with the NRA, and anyone who didn’t say exactly what they wanted to hear. ... Read More
U.S.

The Gun-Control Debate Could Break America

Last night, the nation witnessed what looked a lot like an extended version of the famous “two minutes hate” from George Orwell’s novel 1984. During a CNN town hall on gun control, a furious crowd of Americans jeered at two conservatives, Marco Rubio and Dana Loesch, who stood in defense of the Second ... Read More