Larry Huss– The Wall Street Journal’s weekend addition carried the following headline (above the fold): “Hiring Slowed At Close Of Record Jobs Year” followed by the sub-headline “New positions grew by 199,000 in December and the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%.” I read the Wall Street Journal because among all of the mainstream media it stands alone in a dedication to follow the facts rather to recite a predetermined political narrative. I was disappointed in the coverage because it left both the “markers” and the most critical element of an employment trends off the table.
First, the only reason that it was “record jobs year” is that it was the recovery of a virtual crash in the jobs market caused by the government hysteria over the COVID-19 pandemic. In point of fact, the recovery is just about as anemic as the jobs recovery under former President Barack Obama following the Bush/Obama recession of 2008-09. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, prior to the recession, employment peaked in January of 2008 at approximately 138,403,000. There were approximately 13,000,000 jobs lost. It took until May of 2015 – seven long years – for that number to recover to 138,511,000 jobs. And even at that it was not a full recovery because the number of people eligible to enter the workforce increases at about 200,000 per month – 2.4 million per year.
The job loss caused by the pandemic began in about February of 2020 when the employment peaked at 152,523,000. Two months later – May of 2021 – the employment figure had dropped to 130,161,000 – a loss of 22,363,000 jobs. read more