Some big things continue not to jibe when it comes to the American economy. And Americans should be gravely concerned — not only about the economy but how our “leaders” keep misrepresenting what’s happening on the ground.
This time last week, President Obama was touting the decline in unemployment and growth in jobs during a victory lap in Indiana. But reality has a way of embarrassing pols shilling for their legacies.
Last Friday’s jobs report, for May, was abysmal. A paltry 38,000 new jobs were created last month. And there are indicators — a contraction in temporary hiring, among them — that suggest things are going to get worse.
Yes, the unemployment rate fell, from 5 percent to 4.7 percent. But it was for the exact wrong reason — more Americans stopped looking for work. Yes, baby boomer retirements contributed to this drop. But labor force participation dropped pretty much across the board.
One bright spot was wage growth. But that’s likely fleeting, given the obviously weakening jobs market. And the harbingers for even worse performance appear to be everywhere, including weak investment spending and lackluster productivity. There are serious concerns about manufacturing; goods-producing employment has shrunk for four straight months.
Not surprisingly, consumer confidence is down. J.P. Morgan analysts see a one-in-three chance for a recession. And all of Mr. Obama’s happy talk falls quite flat.
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