We Need Economic Change We Can Believe In

Nonfarm payrolls were up for the eighth consecutive month—that was the only good news in the employment report released by the Government today.  The net job gain of 54,000 was miserably disappointing. While private sector payrolls grew by 83,000 jobs, local governments cut 28,000 jobs.  Professional services did the best with a gain of 44,000 jobs, while retail jobs sank 8,500 jobs.

As bad as the numbers are as a benchmark of the recovery, the news is worse for President Obama since the assessment overall is the poor showing is the result of weak economic fundamentals driven by a lack of confidence and uncertainty about future healthcare costs and tax burdens.

To be sure technical factors including weather and the Japanese tsunami hurt production and cost jobs. Stubbornly high oil and gasoline prices are rippling across the economy making business more anxious about costs and inflation. But there was precious little optimism in these numbers.

Overall unemployment is at 9.1 percent, among teenagers it is 24.2 percent and for black teenagers the rate is a staggering 40.7 percent. College graduates still fare better with an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent compared to high school graduates of 9.5 percent and worse 14.7 percent for those without a high school diploma.

In addition to continued high unemployment rates wages remained flat signaling weaker consumer spending going forward, Wells Fargo Economics suggests a miserable 1.8% GDP growth rate for 2011.

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