Jobs crisis worsens, Texans call for people power

DALLAS – The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an increase of only 18,000 net new American jobs in June 2011. The number of unemployed continues to rise. The BLS says, “Since March, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 545,000, and the unemployment rate has risen by 0.4 percentage point.” As of July 8, the “official rate” of unemployment was one-tenth higher than the previous month at 9.2%. When “involuntary part-time” and “marginally attached” unemployed are added, the actual rate is 16.7%.

Unbelievably, the news release was made to sound unimportant. The BLS said that all statistics were “essentially unchanged,” even though they revealed a trend toward higher unemployment in both the May and June figures. The June 8 release actually revised the already-alarming May statistics downward!

Outside the federal building that houses the BLS in Dallas, activists labored to present a more honest view. With four TV news cameras on them, Herb Keenum of the Communications Workers of America and Gene Lantz of Jobs with Justice handed out leaflets that said, “…the level of workers’ suffering across the nation grinds on. There are still 14.1 million (9.2%) officially looking for work, still 8.6 million involuntary part-time workers, and still 2.7 million “marginally attached” unemployed who don’t count at all because they haven’t even looked for work in the last 4 weeks! A quick calculation of total unemployment and total workforce shows 16.6% still in unemployment and misery.

‘Unemployment still shows a racist bias with the official rate for Blacks at 16.2% and Hispanics 11.6%. Teenagers still suffer an official rate of 24.5%!

‘Employers are still squeezing more work out of their smaller workforces with productivity increases since the recession began larger than today’s unemployment rate. Corporate cash reserves, estimated in the trillions, still shows no employer intention to address the jobs crisis. Politicians, actually deadlocked over making more cuts and more layoffs, still show no intention (beyond lip service) to alleviate unemployment suffering.

‘The “prosperity” phase of the normal business cycle still thunders on with stocks up 10% for the year. The next crisis of the normal business cycle still impends.

‘North Texas Jobs with Justice calls on the only force in America that can set things right – the people themselves. Just as in the last great crisis, the people can create a jobs sharing program. The people can cause government to create great job-producing institutions like the Works Progress Administration. The people can shorten working hours and end unemployment.”

Similar public activities were scheduled across the nation.

Photo: Dallas, July 8. Jim Lane/PW