FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Land of the Mega-Rich

by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS

On March 9th,  the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) announced that 227,000 new nonfarm payroll jobs were created by the economy during February. Is the government’s claim true?

No. Statistician John Williams (shadowstats.com) reports that 44,000 of these jobs or 19% consist of an add-on factor derived from the BLS’s estimate that 44,000 more unreported jobs from new business start-ups were created than were lost by unreported  business failures. The BLS’s estimate comes from the bureau’s “birth-death model,” which works better during normal times, but delivers erroneous results during troubled times such as the economy has been experiencing during the past four years.

Taking out the 44,000 added-on jobs reduces the February jobs number to 183,000, but does not provide a full correction.  In an economy as troubled as the US economy is, most likely the deaths exceeded the births, but we don’t know what the number is.  Was it 20,000?  50,000?  What number do we deduct from the 183,000?  We simply do not know.

Williams reports that seasonal adjustment factors do not work properly during troubled economic times and add their own overstatement to the jobs figure.  If anyone could estimate the overestimate of new jobs that results from malfunctioning seasonal adjustments, it is John Williams, but he doesn’t provide an estimate.

Most likely, the new jobs did not exceed 150,000, a figure that would merely keep even with population growth and thus not reduce the rate of unemployment, which, consistent with this deduction, remained constant.

Let’s look now at the kind of jobs that were created. Of the new jobs reported by BLS, 92% are in services. Of this 92%, only 7% could possibly relate to exportable services–architectural, engineering, and computer systems services.

Of the reported new service jobs, 29% are in health care and social services. The categories that account for the health services jobs are ambulatory health care services and hospitals.  Waitresses and bartenders account for 20% of the reported new jobs.

Employment services account for 29% of the new reported jobs.  Transportation and warehousing accounted for 5% of the reported new jobs, despite a loss of 60,000 jobs in general merchandise and department stores.

In other words, the vast majority of the new jobs are low paying jobs, except for a few truck drivers.

Other conclusions that we can draw are:

The US has nothing to export to reduce its massive trade deficit, which has, sooner or later, disastrous implications for the US dollar.

Middle class income jobs are declining, with polarization at the two extremes.

US economic policy continues to focus on the mega-rich at the expense of 99% of the population. US interest rates are kept at, or near to, zero in order to maximize mega-bank earnings, while depriving tens of millions of retired Americans of interest income on their lifetime savings, forcing them to spend their capital in order to live, thus depriving their heavily indebted children of inheritance.

In short, the US is well on its way to becoming a third world country, as I predicted would be the case in 20 years at a Brookings Institution conference in Washington DC early in the 21st century.

America is no longer the land of the free and independent.  It is the land of the 1% mega-rich.

PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS was an editor of the Wall Street Journal and an Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Treasury.  His latest book, HOW THE ECONOMY WAS LOST, has just been published by CounterPunch/AK Press. He can be reached through his website

 

Paul Craig Roberts is a former Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury and Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal. Roberts’ How the Economy Was Lost is now available from CounterPunch in electronic format. His latest book is The Neoconservative Threat to World Order.

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

Weekend Edition
April 21, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Diana Johnstone
The Main Issue in the French Presidential Election: National Sovereignty
Paul Street
Donald Trump: Ruling Class President
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Dude, Where’s My War?
Andrew Levine
If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
Paul Atwood
Why Does North Korea Want Nukes?
Robert Hunziker
Trump and Global Warming Destroy Rivers
Vijay Prashad
Turkey, After the Referendum
Binoy Kampmark
Trump, the DOJ and Julian Assange
CJ Hopkins
The President Formerly Known as Hitler
Steve Reyna
Replacing Lady Liberty: Trump and the American Way
Lucy Steigerwald
Stop Suggesting Mandatory National Service as a Fix for America’s Problems
Robert Fisk
It is Not Just Assad Who is “Responsible” for the Rise of ISIS
John Laforge
“Strike Two” Against Canadian Radioactive Waste Dumpsite Proposal
Norman Solomon
The Democratic Party’s Anti-Bernie Elites Have a Huge Stake in Blaming Russia
Andrew Stewart
Can We Finally Get Over Bernie Sanders?
Susan Babbitt
Don’t Raise Liberalism From the Dead (If It is Dead, Which It’s Not)
Uri Avnery
Palestine’s Nelson Mandela
Fred Nagel
It’s “Deep State” Time Again
John Feffer
The Hunger President
Stephen Cooper
Nothing is Fair About Alabama’s “Fair Justice Act”
Jack Swallow
Why Science Should Be Political
Chuck Collins
Congrats, Graduates! Here’s Your Diploma and Debt
Aidan O'Brien
While God Blesses America, Prometheus Protects Syria, Russia and North Korea 
Patrick Hiller
Get Real About Preventing War
David Rosen
Fiction, Fake News and Trump’s Sexual Politics
Evan Jones
Macron of France: Chauncey Gardiner for President!
David Macaray
Adventures in Labor Contract Language
Ron Jacobs
The Music Never Stopped
Kim Scipes
Black Subjugation in America
Sean Stinson
MOAB: More Obama and Bush
Miguel A. Cruz-Díaz
Minute Musings: On Why the United States Should Launch a Tomahawk Strike on Puerto Rico
Tom Clifford
The Return of “Mein Kampf” … in Japan
Todd Larsen
Concerned About Climate Change? Change Where You Bank!
Thomas Hon Wing Polin
Brexit: Britain’s Opening to China?
John Hutchison
Everything Old is New Again: a Brief Retrospectus on Korea and the Cold War
Michael Brenner
The Ghost in the Dream Machine
Yves Engler
The Military Occupation of Haiti
Christopher Brauchli
Guardians of Lies
James Preece
How Labour Can Win the Snap Elections
Cesar Chelala
Preventing Disabilities in the Elderly
Sam Gordon
From We Shall Overcome to Where Have all the Flowers Gone?
Charles Thomson
It’s Still Not Too Late to Deserve Your CBE, Chris Ofili
Louis Proyect
Documentaries That Punch
Charles R. Larson
Review: Vivek Shanbhag’s “Ghachar Ghochar”
David Yearsley
Raiding the Tomb of Lubitsch
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail