Labor Day, 2006

By September 4, 2006General

This Labor Day, workers actually have something to celebrate, though you’ll detect precious little of it in the mainstream media coverage today:

— 1.7 million new jobs have been created over the past year;

— Employment has increased in 48 of the 50 states;

— Manufacturing output is at an all-time high and production employment in manufacturing has increased by 117,000 over the past year — the largest annual increase in over 8 years;

— The economy has grown at 3.5% over the past year, while productivity has grown at 2.4%;

— Real per capita disposable income has risen 9.2% since 2001;

— Real compensation has risen 1.7%.

Labor for its part laments the state of the US economy — again — and points in its new study to how great things are in Europe. This is almost comical, considering the per capita US Gross Domestic Product (also known as the standard of living) is almost 50% higher than Europe’s. The 3.5% GDP growth noted above is 35% faster than the EU’s. The current 4.6% unemployment rate is half Europe’s rate. US workers unemployed for over a year account for just 12% of the total, while in Europe, some 43% of all unemployed have been so for over a year. Finally, the percent of people starting new businesses is five times higher in the US than in France. Ask yourself this question: If you open the borders, which way will people flow — toward Europe or toward the good ol’ US of A? We think we know the answer.

So today, as you read all the wistful comparisons with Europe and read all the grim news about the US economy, just remember that this economy has come up off the economic mat from September 11 with a vengeance. We remain the largest economy in the world and the economic envy of the world.

And that gives us all something to celebrate this Labor Day.

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Lorenzo says:

    Oweoj, I challenge you to provide the figures supporting your claim that “the average American’s” share of the national debt was only $500. Do you really expect us to believe the national debt was less than $150 billion in 2001? Let’s see those figures.

  • steve says:

    With respect to national debt, I think you are missing a zero if you claim the debt per person was $500 at any time in the past several generations. Still awfull, but a factor of 10 is a big deal.

  • LastStand says:

    I don’t usually reply on these kind of things but this is just absurd.

    “In 2005, the National Debt under Bush has increased so drastically that it reached $8 trillion. This means that the average American�s estimated share of national debt will be $24,000 when he leaves office, compared to $500 when he took office”

    That is just not true. First, in order for everyone’s share of the debt to have been $500 when Bush took office, we would have to have 10 billion people in the nation. The debt was 5 trillion dollars. And actually it’d be more because it was 5.5 trillion. Second, assuming a national population of 300 million, for each persons share to have been $500, the federal deficit would have had to average about 1.5 trillion dollars in each of the last 5 years to be at 8 trillion.

    “Responsible for creating a $521 billion dollars budget deficit less than four years after inheriting a $200 billion dollars surplus”

    He did increase the deficit, but there was never a surplus. There are two types of debt looked at when figuring out that 8 trillion dollars. One is public debt, currently 4.8 trillion dollars. The other is intragovernmental holdings, currently 3.6 trillion dollars.

    Under Clinton, the public debt did go down in 99, 00, and 01. However, the intragovernmental holdings never went down and never slowed enough to make the debt itself go down on the lower public debt. That is why year to year tracking of the total debt never got lower.

    The debt is up nearly 3 trillion from when Bush took over but let’s not pretend everything was perfect under Clinton when simple math tells us otherwise.

  • Dave says:

    Oweoj mixes a lot of apples & oranges statistics – some irrelevant to the article. A little context…

    National debt is a function of government spending vs government collections. This is not directly related to the economy. Skipping onward…

    Trade deficit, again not directly related to the above article…

    The tax cut (whatever the amount)…The tax RATE reductions have actually raised tax COLLECTIONS. If this seems countintuitive, take a look at the breakdown of collected taxes. These tax rate reductions had a significant positive impact on the lowest quintile’s disposable income. Analysis of tax receipts shows that tax collections have actually become MORE progressive under BUSH.

    Monthly job growth – that’s cherry picked numbers that ignores the home survey of salaries (there is two main salary surveys).

    Not sure where the Net National Savings number came from…World Bank number for the last year, 2005, was 5.7%, better than when Bush took office. The 1.0% number the writer used seems like a cherry picked number.

    Poverty rate – U.S. Census shows the 2005 poverty rate at 12.6% which is actually historically quite low. It actually hit over 15% under Clinton and was over 20% in the late 1950’s. The rate is lower than in all but two of Clinton’s years.

    Child Poverty Rates – U.S. Census numbers for 2005 show 17.6% of those under 18 as living in poverty. That’s fairly low for the last 25 years (it even peaked at 22.7 in Clinton’s presidency). It was 16.3 in 2001.

    Note: Non-cash benefits are NOT counted when determining poverty rates. These have gone up considerable in the last several years.

    Black Poverty Rate information was essentially accurate. For reference, this rate had a peak under Clinton of 33.4%. Racial catagories were redefined in 2002 and, as mentioned before, increasing non-cash benefits were not included in the calculations.

    Oh, the reference on the “slowest job growth since the great depression” – doesn’t say what the author says. Only reference to the great depression in the entire document is a comment on personal savings rates. It does reference job growth in 2005 but the numbers used are a third less than official government (payroll, not household) numbers for 2005.

    It looks like a lot of the commenter’s “facts” came from that PDF off of the American Progress website – which is using numbers that don’t match government numbers.

  • anon says:

    Looking over the poverty rate statistics, one sees that:
    1)The poverty rate has stabilized over the last 3 years.(12.6 vs 12.7 vs 12.5%)
    2) The poverty rate is lower than it was for all of the Clinton years, except for the last 2 years, 1999 and 2000.

    Of course, we also need some context. The poverty rate was somewhat artificially suppressed during the last 2 years of the Clinton years due to the stock market bubble; in short, it was a fool’s paradise and things weren’t as great as they seemed to be.

    We also know that some of the economic benefits of the late 1990’s were due to Clinton cutbacks in defense and national security spending…the “peace dividend” as it was called back then. Well, we now know, in retrospect, that these cutbacks were foolish, and left us less prepared against our enemies of today. In short, we were still at war, but no one, esp. Bill Clinton, knew that.

    Poverty did go up in 2001, 2002, and 2003, but then we were dealing with the effects of 9-11, the War on Terror, the stock market bubble collapse, and some corporate fraud scandals, all of which trace their origins back to the Clinton years.

  • oweoj says:

    Actually the US Census shows how are are doing�.LET�S GO TO THE TOTEBOARD AND SEE HOW TRICKLE DOWN ECONOMICS HAS CHANGED THE USA FOR THE BETTER�.or maybe not�..

    In 2005, the National Debt under Bush has increased so drastically that it reached $8 trillion. This means that the average American�s estimated share of national debt will be $24,000 when he leaves office, compared to $500 when he took office.

    Since March 2001, the economy has had the lowest job growth of any business cycle since the Great Depression. (

    Responsible for creating a $521 billion dollars budget deficit less than four years after inheriting a $200 billion dollars surplus.

    Responsible for the highest US trade deficit ever, totaling to $43 billion dollars.

    Of Bush�s proposed $2 trillion tax cut, 43% goes to the wealthiest 1% of Americans.

    Proposed a plan to allow illegal immigrants and foreign nationals to work in the United States for up to six years before being sent home. Under the proposed temporary worker plan, an estimated 8 million to 11 million illegal immigrants in the country and foreign nationals outside the country could register with the government to work in the United States for three years which would require billions and billions of taxpayer dollars for the eventual immigrant exodus out of the country and back to their original homes.

    Monthly job growth since 2003 is 50% lower under Bush than it was under Clinton (Since August 2003, job growth has averaged 160,000 per month. During Clinton�s eight years in office job growth averaged 236,000 per month).

    Under Bush, net national savings have dropped from 4.9% when Bush took office to 1.0% last quarter� its lowest level since the Great Depression. [BEA]

    The poverty rate has risen each year since Bush took office from 11.7% in 2001 to 12.7% last year as 4 million people fell into poverty. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]

    Child poverty rate is on the rise�jumping from 16.3% in 2001 to 17.8% in 2004. As 1.3 million children under 18 have fallen into poverty [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-2]

    African American poverty has also jumped every year since Bush took office�from 22.7% in 2001 to 24.7% in 2004 as nearly 1 million (864,000) African Americans have fallen under the poverty line. [Census, Aug. 2005, Table B-1]