Saturday, June 4, 2011

Jobs by Sector, April-May 2011

Once more, as last month (here), I am showing employment change by sector. In the change from March to April, all sectors showed gains but one, Government. This month (April to May) five sectors show losses, the rest gains:

The source of the data shown is this BLS table. Note here especially the loss of 9,000 jobs in the retail sector. Last month that sector, alone, posted a higher gain in jobs than the entire economy this month (57,000 versus 54,000). This month retail gave some of those jobs back. The news speak of people being “shopped out” or having once more “lost confidence.” Not surprisingly. We don’t have a unified national policy. We’re pulling in opposite directions. Keynesian voices keen for more stimulus—but how can we stimulate when we’ve built our Tower of Debt to a nearly World War II percent of GDP by giving artificial respiration to the Finance Sector and fighting—is it two? is it three? is it four? wars all at once? Other voices shout Tax cut, Tax cut, Tax cut—and these voices are louder and winning; they’ve won the last election. But not the last by-election in New York—which really confuses things. Tax cutting has produced shrinking jobs in government. Last month the loss was 24,000; this month it is 29,000. That’s what job-growth by tax-cut looks like, stupidos.

Let’s take a closer look at the government losses. The federal sector actually had a gain of 1,000 jobs; state governments lost 2,000, and the locals 28,000. It’s worst closest to home! And it gets worse. Most of the government job losses (a shade over 60 percent) were experienced by local educational systems, 17,500! That’s where the tax-cuts are landing, folks: on teachers. And that’s starting to look down-right surrealistic. We can afford to build schools in Afghanistan and in Pakistan by means of aid—but we can’t keep our teachers on the job because we must shrink government? Is it any wonder that people have lost their confidence?

In times like these when unity of purpose is essential, our governance structure, designed deliberately to produce conflict, is not working to the benefit of the whole.


  1. I am looking forward with some trepidation to the next world rankings of Student Achievement among OECD members. Likely causes for our low standing in this ranking of Proficiency in Reading, Math, and the Sciences are said to be poverty and student discipline. I would add to these: the numerous school closings, lack of experienced teachers in too many urban schools, as well as our current “cultural and social values”. Can any thinking adult see improvement resulting to our standing in these rankings from the proposed cuts to Education?

  2. Government budget cuts have become an obvious anchor on this sputtering recovery. It's quite amazing to live through the economic errors of 1937 a second time.

  3. Er, that is to say that we as a nation are repeating that mistake. I've only read about it in books, which it seems is something that many of our current Congressmen failed to do.

  4. Comments are welcome, John, but not if you use obsolete words like "read" and "books" without bothering to define them. Do you mean "scan" and "feed"....?