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

 

More articles by:

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.

Weekend Edition
February 16, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jeffrey St. Clair
American Carnage
Paul Street
Michael Wolff, Class Rule, and the Madness of King Don
Andrew Levine
Had Hillary Won: What Now?
David Rosen
Donald Trump’s Pathetic Sex Life
Susan Roberts
Are Modern Cities Sustainable?
Joyce Nelson
Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?
Geoff Dutton
America Loves Islamic Terrorists (Abroad): ISIS as Proxy US Mercenaries
Mike Whitney
The Obnoxious Pence Shows Why Korea Must End US Occupation
Joseph Natoli
In the Post-Truth Classroom
John Eskow
One More Slaughter, One More Piece of Evidence: Racism is a Terminal Mental Disease
John W. Whitehead
War Spending Will Bankrupt America
Dave Lindorff
Trump’s Latest Insulting Proposal: Converting SNAP into a Canned Goods Distribution Program
Robert Fantina
Guns, Violence and the United States
Robert Hunziker
Global Warming Zaps Oxygen
John Laforge
$1.74 Trillion for H-bomb Profiteers and “Fake” Cleanups
CJ Hopkins
The War on Dissent: the Specter of Divisiveness
Peter A. Coclanis
Chipotle Bell
Anders Sandström – Joona-Hermanni Mäkinen
Ways Forward for the Left
Wilfred Burchett
Vietnam Will Win: Winning Hearts and Minds
Tommy Raskin
Syrian Quicksand
Martha Rosenberg
Big Pharma Still Tries to Push Dangerous Drug Class
Jill Richardson
The Attorney General Thinks Aspirin Helps Severe Pain – He’s Wrong
Mike Miller
Herb March: a Legend Deserved
Ann Garrison
If the Democrats Were Decent
Renee Parsons
The Times, They are a-Changing
Howard Gregory
The Democrats Must Campaign to End Trickle-Down Economics
Sean Keller
Agriculture and Autonomy in the Middle East
Ron Jacobs
Re-Visiting Gonzo
Eileen Appelbaum
Rapid Job Growth, More Education Fail to Translate into Higher Wages for Health Care Workers
Ralph Nader
Shernoff, Bidart, and Echeverria—Wide-Ranging Lawyers for the People
Chris Zinda
The Meaning of Virginia Park
Robert Koehler
War and Poverty: A Compromise with Hell
Mike Bader – Mike Garrity
Senator Tester Must Stop Playing Politics With Public Lands
Kenneth Culton
No Time for Olympic Inspired Nationalism
Graham Peebles
Ethiopia: Final Days of the Regime
Irene Tung – Teófilo Reyes
Tips are for Servers Not CEOs
Randy Shields
Yahoomans in Paradise – This is L.A. to Me
Thomas Knapp
No Huawei! US Spy Chiefs Reverse Course on Phone Spying
Mel Gurtov
Was There Really a Breakthrough in US-North Korea Relations?
David Swanson
Witness Out of Palestine
Binoy Kampmark
George Brandis, the Rule of Law and Populism
Dean Baker
The Washington Post’s Long-Running Attack on Unions
Andrew Stewart
Providence Public School Teachers Fight Back at City Hall
Stephen Cooper
Majestic Meditations with Jesse Royal: the Interview
David Yearsley
Olympic Music
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail