Job growth slowing down

The latest jobs report issued by the government shows the economy added just 88,000 new jobs in March while the official jobless rate dropped a tad to 7.6 percent from February’s 7.7 percent.

The biggest reason for the tiny drop in the unemployment rate was that 500,000 people dropped out of the workforce altogether last month – meaning they are feeling too defeated and too disgusted to even bother looking for a job.

“The only way to achieve a sustainable recovery and rebuild a robust economy benefitting all is to address the ongoing crisis of long-term unemployment,” said Christine Owens of the National Employment Law Project. “To do that, our leaders need to invest in meaningful job creation programs instead of wasting time with partisan infighting or, worse yet, doing damage with misguided austerity policies and huge budget cuts.”

While the 88,000 jobs created means we have seen 36 straight months of positive job growth, during the previous 12 months that growth was more than double what it was last month. It had been averaging 169,000 per month. It takes 150,000 new jobs a month just to keep up with the rate of population growth,

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said that he was particularly upset because the bad news on the jobs front comes just as the president is planning to unveil a budget that cuts Social Security and Medicare benefits for working families

“This is a sign of the wrong headed policy driving our slow recovery,” Trumka said. “Millions of Americans remain out of work and the job market is especially devastating for young people. Without the prospect of good jobs in their early and crucial earning years, these young people will bear the cost of those proposed cuts in Social Security.

“We continue to reject chained CPI and means testing for Medicare as more ‘Washington speak’ that disguises awful ideas that harm working families,” Trumka said.
“The president should drop these misguided cuts and focus instead on building support in Congress for investing in jobs.”

Trumka said the president’s budget proposals are problematic too because voters backed President Obama “in the hopes that a second term would mean that working families would share in the nation’s prosperity. This budget dampens those hopes,” Trumka said, “but, even worse, they are bad for the economy.”

The number of long-term unemployed (those who are jobless for27 weeks or more) was 4.56 million, or 39.6 percent of the unemployed.

The unemployment rate for whites (6.7 percent) declined slightly in March, as did the rates for adult African Americans (13.3 percent), young workers (13.3 percent), men (6.9percent), teenagers (24.2 percent), Asian Americans (5 percent), and Latinos (9.2 percent). The rate for adult women remained the same (7.0 percent), African Americans (3.8 percent) and Latinos (9.6 percent).

The biggest job gains were in professional and business services (51,000), health care (23,000) and construction (18,000). But jobs declined in retail trade (24,000) and the U.S. Postal Service (12,000).

Employment in other major industries, including mining, manufacturing, wholesale trading, transportation, warehousing, financial industries, state government and local government showed little change over the month.

Photo: Construction workers rally for jobs in St. Paul, Minn.  Jim Mone/AP


John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik started as labor editor of the People's World in May, 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There he served as a shop steward, as a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee, and as an activist in the union's campaign to win public support for Wal-Mart workers. In the 1970s and '80s he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York. Along with being labor editor, Wojcik is a co-editor of