A closer look at jobs numbers shows we're not better off

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Recently President Barack Obama said, “By every economic measure, we are better off now than we were when I took office. You wouldn’t know it, but we are.” I was puzzled by this and did some research.

Businesses have created 9.4 million new jobs (part and full-time) in the past 51 months. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that about 10.3 million jobs have been lost during the same period. That means there are 900,000 (approximately) fewer folks working today than in 2010.

The smaller number employed has driven the labor participation rate down to 62.8 percent, the lowest in 35 years. When the millions on unemployment are added to the “underemployed,” the Labor Department’s U-6 unemployment rate swells to 12.1 percent, well above the 6.1 percent reported.

The Washington Post (July 4) claims almost all of the 288,000 new jobs in June were part time. A total of 799,000 part-time jobs were created during the month, but 523,000 full-time jobs were lost. The net difference of 276,000 reveals a total of about 12,000 new full-time jobs.

Those part-time workers earn less, so net household income has been cut from $55,484 in 2008 to $51,371 in 2012. With wages not keeping pace with inflation, the average family has $7,000 less in purchasing power. When you read behind the headlines and examine the facts, one’s perspective does change.

HARRY CHODER
Squirrel Hill


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