Thursday, March 21, 2013

January 2013 Employment Review: No Big News here just steady growth

Yes, I know it's March, but we are playing catch-up.

The January 2013 employment situation report was issued by the Bureau of Labor Statistics on February 1st, 2013.  The report had no news, which is good news.  The unemployment rate rose slightly to 7.9% and Non Farm Payroll increased by 157,000 workers.  The most economists believe the Non Farm Payroll (NFP) number must be greater than 200,000 to reduce unemployment. Construction and retail trade added jobs as did healthcare and leisure/hospitality.

So, if we had to pick a story for January, it would be: We won the election.  Whew!!! But the majpr labor  economic story was the drop in median (half above/half below) unemployment duration.  It dropped from 18 weeks in December 2012 to 16 weeks in January 2013. A huge change due to the long-term unemployed either finding work or dropping out of the labor force.

The BLS also published some interesting data on 2012  revisions.  The changes add an additional 335,000 jobs over the year. So the economy was better than we thought in 2012. I still laugh at Mitt Romney calling one unemployment report, "a hammer blow to the middle class."  All I can say again is: whew! that was close.

In other news, Washington has been focused on mandatory budget cuts collectively known as "the  sequester." Obama overstated the impact of the cuts to try to get a larger deal with the Republicans.

Household Survey Results

Every significant measure showed little or no change in January. The unemployment rate moved up slightly to 7.9%.  There were 12.3 million people unemployed. The labor force participation rate stayed at 63.6%.
U-6, which measures the number of people who want jobs or additional hours was 14.4%.

The chart below shows the gradual decline in the national unemployment rate which is currently at 7.9%.

The white(7.0%), black(13.8%) and Hispanic (9.7%)  employment rates also barely changed in January. The estimated "real" black unemployment rate (black U-6) was 20.3%. Rate has moved little since January 2012 (20.4%). 

The black labor force grew by 238,000 to 18.6 million. Sixteen million black people were employed and labor force participation rate was 61.75%.

The number of long-term unemployed stayed at 4.7 million but the median duration of unemployment decreased by two week to 16.0 weeks. Median duration was 20.8 weeks in January 2012.  The percentage of people who are unemployed longer than 26 weeks also shrank to 38%. Two million, four hundred thousand workers were classified as marginally attached and 800K as discouraged.  Both groups has seen large drops in their numbers during 2012.

The economy continued to make progress "filling in" the job hole created by the recession. The economy has added approximately 5.5 million jobs since February 2010.

Business Survey Results

Non Farm Payrolls grew by 157,00 jobs. Jobs grew in construction,  wholesale and retail trade, business services, health care and leisure and hospitality.

The private sector added 166,000 jobs and government gave back 9,000. 

Every sector added jobs except for transportation and government. 

Saturday, March 9, 2013

4th African American Economic Summit at Howard University

The 4th annual African American Economic Summit was held at Howard University on February 1st, 2013.  The program was sponsored by Howard University and The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The conference feature several well known black economic figures:

Bennard E. Andersen

The sessions were

Session 1: Economic Distress in the United States and the Urgency of Action
Benard E. Anderson, U of Penn, Wharton
Bobby Scott, Congressmen (VA-3)
Lorenzo Morris, HU Political Science Department
Rodney Green, HU, Econ Department Chairman
Alexander De Leon, Student, HU, Econ, Master's degree candidate

Anderson define the problem and the lack of black wealth
Scott said we have not money
Morris said blacks may have missed the window to make change
Green said the problem is capitalism and corporations are sitting on $5 trillion in cash and won't invest to make jobs. We may have to consider a mass movement for broader systemic change
De Leon

Session 2: Employment and Wealth: Policies for Black Americans and All Americans

William "Sandy" Darity jr., Duke University - Painted a great picture of the dismal employment situations in the US.  He discussed a federal job guarentee to be paid for by poverty programs.
Professor Haydar Kurban, HU econonomics department - Proposed using taxes on financial market to create jobs. Discuss
Darrick Hamilton, Econ department, New School. Racial wealth gap is huge. Proposes baby bonds for education, housing or business creation
William Spriggs, Howard U, Econ.  AFL-CIO Economist. - Raise the minimum wage
Enrique Lopezlira, Howard University, Student
Charles Bedsee, Howard Econ

A video of the sessions is available at the website of the Howard University Department of Economics.

The full list of sponsors were:

Howard University
Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies
Howard University Department of Economics
Howard University Center for Urban Progress
Howard University Center on Race and Wealth
Duke University's Research Network on Racial and Ethnic Inequality
Ron Walters Leadership and public policy center at Howard University

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