We’re Even Deeper in the Hole

Works Projects AdministrationThe economy is still in a deep hole, and we’re not climbing out.

Remember, we need 125,000 new jobs per month simply to keep up with the growth of the American population seeking jobs. But according to Friday morning’s job’s report, private-sector employers added just 71,000 jobs in July. (According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ revised report for June, private employers added only 31,000 jobs in June.)

In other words, the hole keeps getting deeper.

(Government Census workers who had been hired in the spring have been let go over the last two months, and shouldn’t really be included in the trend-line calculation. But for the record, 143,000 lost their jobs in July. That leaves about 200,000 Census workers still knocking on doors. Most of them will lose their jobs in August and September.)

The only slightly bright news is that manufacturing payrolls increased by 36,000 in July, but those gains are almost surely going to evaporate in August. Manufacturing expanded in July at the slowest pace of the year as orders and production decelerated.

robert_reich.jpgAll this blur of numbers means two things: An extraordinary number of Americans are still hurting. And it’s more important than ever for the US government to step in with a larger stimulus that puts more people to work (a WPA, for example), and tax cuts for people who will spend them (a two-year payroll tax holiday on the first $20K of income).

We cannot get out of this hole without major federal action.

(Originally written for the American Prospect)

Robert Reich

This article first appeared on Robert Reich’s Blog. Republished with permission

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